Sustaining Success
April 2010
Envision, Evolve, Achieve

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Laurie Mrva
Achieve Success LLC 
Do You Provide Opportunities For Your Employees... make a significant contribution to the organization?

Achieve Success LogoOf course you do.  Employees already have their responsibilities and deliverables. They know what to do and how to do it. A system of audits and quality control already ensures that human errors are caught and corrected. A system of rewards and recognition is in place; a monthly or year-end incentive plan motivates the high performers.

But now you wonder why sales only shows minor incremental growth.  You realize that there is little innovation.  Decisions come slowly, and only after being passed up the ladder.  Senior management has to push for new programs; none are being suggested from the rank-and-file.  You struggle to identify "high" performers who deserve the year-end rewards.

Let's concentrate on the phrase "significant contribution." 

Generally a "significant contribution" is the result of innovative thinking - thinking outside the box - considering a situation from alternative points of view.  But explicit responsibilities and deliverables are, generally, simply lists of tasks.  A list cannot generate innovation.

Employees can only innovate when they know the organization's mission and vision. They need to know the organization's goals and capabilities, not just their own roles and tasks. Employees can only innovate when they know that success will be rewarded, and that "failure" will be treated as a learning experience.

Employees can only innovate when they know that there is latitude for experimentation.  "Latitude" does involve limitations. By all means, limit the budget or the timeframe for innovations, but ensure that the limited "innovation budget" has room for meaningful experiments.

But, beyond "knowing", there is also the need for energy.  The best computer won't run without electricity; nor the fastest car, without fuel.  How can you energize your workforce?

Be clear in your organization's mission and goals.  Fuzzy goals leave everyone wondering, "Just what does that mean?"  Don't just aspire to be an industry leader - aspire to lead the industry in a measurable way.  Aspire to lead in numbers of new customers, or new products, or in price, or in volume.  State a clear vision of the mission.

Share your organization's mission and goals.  Communicate them to everyone.  Ensure middle management carries the flag and explains the goals to their staff.  If the employees do not know the mission, how can they contribute?

(There's a story that staff persons at NASA were asked about their jobs.  Most replied with variations on, "I do my specific job."  But one janitor said, "I help launch rockets."  That was the person who understood and internalized the mission; imagine the attitude he brought to work!)

Align the employee's personal goals and development with the corporate mission.  Ensure that responsibilities and rewards truly are aligned with the company's goals.

(There's a story about a company with the goal of selling products "A", "B", and "C" in similar volumes.  Management was concerned because "B" far outsold "A" and "C" combined.  The sales people, however, were responding to the tangible message that the commission for product "B" was much higher than that of "A" or "C".)

So is that all it takes to empower your employees to significantly contribute to your organization?  Frankly, no - but it's a great start. 

~ Copyright protected, all rights reserved worldwide. Written for us by Gary Sorrell

How Do You Find Spirituality In Your Work?

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by Linda J. Ferguson


I've been writing articles for the past 10 years on spirituality and work.  In my travels around the country providing workshops on this topic, I've found consistently that people are looking for ways to have their work make a difference and to feel energized in a richer way in their work.  I want to explore here a few ways that you might explore spirituality in your work. 


I provide a framework in my first book, "Path for Greatness", for aligning your gifts, passion and purpose so you can be of service for the world.  First idea to explore is what feeds you spiritually?  You need to continually till your spiritual soil so that you can keep energized and inspired.  Take some time now and write down 3 things you do each week or every day to renew yourself.


Second, what does spirituality mean to you?  What three words do you use to describe times when you feel spiritual?  See how you can integrate those words and ideas into your work day. Three words that I like to use for working spiritually are: wholeness, meaning and connection.  When we feel a sense of our own wholeness, we come from a place of greater authenticity and energy.  We generally find greater meaning in what we do when we are doing it for a larger purpose than feeding ourselves or our organization.  Think of how you can be your best FOR the world.  Finally, when we connect to others in a deeper way, we often feel greater compassion or joy in our relationship with them.  We can strengthen all that we do when we connect with our own Source of inspiration, in whatever ways we connect with this Source.


For more information about my second book, "Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand",  which shares more ideas for integrating spirituality into your work and life, go to this link  -


I wish you many blessings on your journey to find and cultivate spirituality in your work.



"Keep steadily before you the fact that all true success depends at last upon yourself."

~ Theodore T. Hunger


"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."

~ Robert Collier


"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."
~ Henry David Thoreau


"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
~ Thomas Jefferson

In This Issue
Do You Provide Opportunities For Your Employees...
How Do You Find Spirituality In Your Work?
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Creating Winning Teams  
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Creating a winning team begins with creating a culture in which people are encouraged to challenge, to question, to try, and to innovate. Surround yourself with and create teams of the best people the organization has to offer. Don't limit yourself by focusing only on people with seniority or rank. Bring people into a team as they are needed based upon their expertise or abilities.

The ideal team will include the four types of thinkers so you get a blend of perspectives. For example, some team members will naturally focus on short-term efficiency issues (doing things right) while others will focus on short-term effectiveness (doing the right things). Additional team members should be selected for their natural inclination to focus on long-term efficiency, while others should be selected for their natural focus on long-term effectiveness. This will go a long way toward preventing "group think" from taking over and delivering a product that is fundamentally flawed.

Create a culture where people are encouraged to be their best and perform their best. As the goals or projects dictate, you may want to involve multiple constituents in different aspects of the project as needed. Furthermore, it may not always be necessary to involve everyone from the beginning to end. Always be sure however, that the goals and objectives are specific and that they are aligned with the vision, values, and strategies of the organization as defined by the strategic plan.

~ Adapted with permission from the Resource Associates Corporation Executive Leadership Program by Sorrell Associates, LLC

About Us
Laurie helps organizations and professionals make positive changes to achieve their goals.  Achieve Success offers customized solutions to your business challenges including strategic planning, leadership development and employee assessment tools to assist with hiring, promoting and developing key skills to enhance success.   

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