'What Have You Accomplished This Week?'
I recently wrote about an exercise I've asked my staffers to do, which includes taking five minutes every Monday morning to jot down all the things they've accomplished in the last week, and then talk about it in our weekly sales meeting. I had originally been asked to do this exercise at an event I attended, and found it to be helpful in evaluating my productivity. I hoped it would do the same for my team. I wrote then that I would check back in with you and tell you how it worked.
Here's what I learned:
The accomplishment check-in is great for morale.
The Monday morning accomplishment disclosure exercise only takes five minutes of the workweek, and yet it carries the team much farther into the week in terms of energy and determination. Once each person has had her turn to talk, there is a marked difference in morale in the room. Far from some kind of hokey feel-good tactic, the stop-and-smell-the-roses mentality is really just a chance to enjoy the moment of making a difference in a customer's day, or creating an innovative new product, or shipping packages faster than ever before. As a manager, I found that making a choice to place value on these moments is a better character builder than any other kind of exhortation to greatness or onboarding technique.
Even introverted team members will take center stage.
In the first week, everyone seemed slightly shy about saying what they had worked hard to make happen for the company. For the people who are naturally shy, this was even more so the case. By week three, however, even timid employees seemed to smile as they explained their accomplishments. Setting up the conversation to be about what each team member had worked hard on helped make it an honest dialoge to keep everyone informed, rather than a bragging session. The entire team benefited from a better understanding of what each employee had taken on in the past week, and as a result, people from different departments also got a better appreciation for one another.
You can congratulate top achievers--and motivate those who are lagging.
Each week, I could clearly pick out the people who were really making headway and moving the company forward. They were the people who had concrete accomplishments to show for their efforts. Those who had not used their time wisely often mentioned completing every day functions that are part of the regular duties associated with their jobs. Having to own their accomplishments (or lack there of) by talking about them out loud became a strong motivator for the laggards, especially the ones who do have potential. That's a very helpful--but hands-off--management technique for me.
Asking my team to take stock and dilvulge their accomplishments to their colleagues and me is not just about giving them a public pat on the back. It's about teaching them that how they are doing today is what will keep the company around for a long time to come.