Most employees want to do a good job.
They want to do well.
They want to contribute to the success of the business.
But how many times have you given your team projects to do that’ll improve the business or help it function better and all you hear is, “sorry, haven’t had time. I’ve been swamped with xyz.”
You nod understandably as they’re working hard and you appreciate what they do, but part of you wants to scream “why can’t you just do what you said you would do!! or words to that effect. Perhaps this video clip is more like how you might feel.
Now you might actually say this and you’d be excused I’m sure, and you might feel good afterwards but, of course, it wouldn’t be the right way to go about it would it….tempting though!
But here’s a barmy idea.
Why not give them permission to take 10% of their week to work on this project?
Yes, actually give them permission. Mandate it.
Steve,” I want you to spend 10% of your time on this. That’s half a day a week, 4 days a month (if the project needs it).”
If you give them permission to do it, encourage them and check in with them you’ll be surprised by the results.
And there’s more…., if you show them or, better still, involve them in the thinking/ planning of why this project is important – to you, them and the business – you’ll get even greater buy in. If they understand the why behind what you want and they’ve event been involved in the thinking too and you give them permission, you’ll see even greater buy-in.
This came about from a client where, whilst we were running a strategic planning session with his staff for 2018, ‘being too busy’ and ‘having no time’ was a recurring theme about implementing projects over and above the day to day work. On exploring the issue further they did agree that if they had a part of their week where they were able to work on these projects then they could probably get them done. So that was it and on further discussion they agreed that 10% would be all they needed.
Their boss was a bit sceptical however as it came from them and it was a big frustration for him he went with it. Overall the feedback is positive about it working. Some are struggling to give themselves permission to take the time however it’s re-emphasised at every weekly team meeting, reinforcing the permission to do it and the fact that most staff are finding the time for their 10%! Being given permission to commit time in the week has led to greater focus on important projects to move the business forward.
Is this magic? Not really. Just good leadership and simple psychology.
So what are you going to give your staff permission to do this year?