Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NACCM 2009 LIVE: Frugality is Reality! Management Imperatives for Leading on a Limited Budget

John McQuaig loves call centers. He’s been working in and around call centers for twenty years. While many call centers deal with selling products or fixing problems, John’s call center has a much more sensitive purpose. John is the Executive Director in charge of the call centers for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

70% of money that St. Jude’s raises comes from people on the street, and much of that flows through the call centers, so they have to do what they do really, really well.

To say St. Jude’s is frugal might be an understatement. Apparently, there’s a joke about St. Jude’s being so money conscious they pick up paperclips off the floor. Actually, John claims that’s no joke.

Years like this are difficult for the organization, just like it has been for many others. When middle America has a hard time, St. Jude has a hard time as well.

You might think the mission at St. Jude is enough to motivate people. After all, saving and improving the quality of children’s health is a pretty motivating mission. As noble as it is, according to John, people are people and they need other forms of motivation besides a noble mission.

So what can you do to motivate your employees to do their best, besides throwing money at them?

John shared four things to strive to do well. If you do these right, you’ll never be able to fail to keep your people engaged:

Clarity (vision, mission, strategic direction)

  • Show them the road
  • Help them navigate the road
  • Show them where they personally have an impact

Competency (tools)

  • Give them the tools to make that successful journey
  • Remove obstacles along the way
  • Update frequently on the challenges and progress
Influence/Ownership (teamwork)

  • Allow them to be a part of the decision making process
  • Make way for open book management (bringing people in at all levels and sharing unfiltered information about what’s happening)
  • Communication in every direction
  • Allow them to feel the wheel
  • Allow talent and passion to accelerate
  • Allow everyone the opportunity to become a stakeholder
Appreciation (self esteem)

  • Motivational messages
  • Promote individual and team accomplishments
  • Know your people (annual reviews)
  • Inspire
  • Advertise the good times
John believes one of the big things leaders need to do more of is “ask.” Leaders need to ask: “What can I be doing better for you?” to their employees. If you ask sincerely, you’ll find out how to effectively support your people to be their best.

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