Employees have the power to be your competitive advantage in the marketplace. The Discretionary Effort Leadership Model is a comprehensive culture change model that shows you how to make employees your competitive advantage. It provides professional development for every manager and improves the sensitive conversations or touch points between a manger and an employee.
Discretionary Effort is the difference between the level of effort, creativity, and problem solving one is capable of bringing to a task, versus the minimum effort required to just get by or make do, and still receive a paycheck. Employees who do just enough work to get a paycheck and not get fired will never become your competitive advantage with customers and clients.
Each day, when an employee walks in the office door (or logs in remotely) and starts work, that employee makes a choice whether or not to give discretionary effort. It takes a special kind of leader to earn the gift of discretionary effort.
Leadership Components of a Competitive Advantage
In the course of our research, we found that integrity routinely formed the basis of company values, which makes sense. Without integrity, there is no trust. With a combination of trust and integrity, the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model works in any organization.
When you become aware of the importance of a foundation of integrity to the productivity and morale of your company, you see your deficiencies in integrity that were invisible to you before. Employees want to work in organizations that are known for integrity. They want to be trusted and know they can trust their managers and leaders. Organizations known for integrity are human-led value organizations that place high worth on the individual and encourage truthfulness.
Safety and Security
Providing employees with a work environment where they feel safe from external and internal threats is the first level in the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model. Safety and security are essential to the other leadership levels.
Safety is the way organizations define, implement, and prevent internal threats such as accidents, the spread of communicable diseases, slips and falls, back injuries, etc. in the workplace. It comes from the Latin word salvus which means healthy.
Security refers to the way organizations detect, prevent, and respond to external threats such as theft, sabotage, and terrorism. It comes from the Latin word secure which means free of concern. Accordingly, a workplace that is security- and safety-conscious is designed to create a healthy environment free of concern.
In this session we address how to extend psychological safety to employees, permitting them to have a voice in the conversation and to surface the truth as they see it.
When employees feel safe in these three ways, they are free to give discretionary effort and concentrate their energies on innovating, cost cutting, customer service, solving problems, and improving processes-not protecting themselves from bodily harm or injury. Thus, the return on investment for safety and well-being initiatives is increased profitability.
Once employees feel safe and secure in the company's office building and perceive the company cares about their well-being, they move to Level Two on the Discretionary Effort pyramid, Social Acceptance. They look to their manager and their team members to find acceptance as individuals.
Each employee contributes to the social environment. As people move in and out of the company, the social environment changes which explains why Leadership Level 2, Social Acceptance, involves living, breathing assets and is central to the health of the organization. Creating a company culture that moves and stretches to people’s personalities and strengths provides a huge opportunity for organizational stability.
All people crave to be respected and accepted for their authentic identities and inherent traits. When employees are socially accepted and recognized in positive ways, they are free to focus their energies on solving problems, not worrying about psychological harm or personal rejection. Social acceptance removes fear, promotes stability, and frees employees to be top performers.
The third level of the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model, Rational Alignment, can be defined as providing the leadership umbrella of mission, values, vision, goals, objectives and strategy so employees can rationally align with the organization.
Alignment is a word used in many professions. In the chiropractic world, the spine must be aligned for optimal health. In the automotive industry, tires must be aligned according to the manufacturer’s specifications. When a car's tires individually point too far in or too far out, they work against each other promoting premature tire wear and increasing fuel usage.
In physics, the alignment of electrons is what makes material magnetic. If half of the electrons spin one way and the rest spin the other way, they will neutralize each other, and the material will never be a magnet.
When employees in different units in the organization are spinning in opposite directions or pointing in different directions, they are working against each other and are not aligning. Aligned employees become magnets that attract customers, build the brand, and improve marketplace positioning. Alignment is critical to the success of the company as it not only turns employees into magnets but it drives productivity and increases value creation.
Emotional Commitment and Engagement
Engagement in the organization is critical if employees are to become your competitive advantage. A study by the North Carolina State Office of Personnel found that highly committed employees perform up to 20 percentile points better than less committee employees and are 87 percent less likely to leave the organization than employees with low levels of commitment.
Leadership Level 4 deals with this mysterious engagement quality called emotional commitment. The goal is to lead employees through the steps from being a worker who just works for a paycheck to one that emotionally commits to the organization and gives discretionary effort.
If an organization aggressively pursues and implements the first three levels of the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model, Emotional Commitment and Level 5, Authentic Contribution, will naturally follow.
No curriculum on making your employees your competitive advantage would be complete without a discussion about charisma. Charisma that mysterious quality that makes people want to follow you, be influenced by your opinions and suggestions, and be part of your team.
As you add charisma to the discretionary effort leadership components mentions above, you will become the leader they CHOOSE to follow, not HAVE to follow because of your place on the organization chart. You will move from a manger to a savvy leader.
At the heart of 21st century leadership is the truth that you have to lead yourself and model behaviors you want your employees to exhibit. This program gives you entrance into the 21st century charismatic leader world by helping you:
Cement principles with Kata practice. In the martial arts, the goal of Kata, or the practice of form and repetitive actions, is to make proven techniques of self-defense automatic. This is illustrated in the "wax on, wax off" exercise made popular in The Karate Kid movie. Applying Kata to the development of discretionary effort means practicing in a repetitive manner the skills and abilities needed to build credibility, integrity, and superior relationships on a daily basis.
Identify specific action steps. To ensure leadership skills are internalized and that change happens in your life, you will be challenged to identify two or three substantial and specific actions you will take on a daily basis, and continue taking until those actions become easy and automatic to you, or part of your leadership habits.
Register today and start using the discretionary effort leadership skills that will make your employees your competitive advantage.
Based on the cutting-edge 21st century leadership book by thought leaders Karla Brandau and Douglas Ross, How to Earn The Gift of Discretionary Effort, this program details how an earn the gift of discretionary effort initiative will change the culture of your organization and make you an employer of choice.
Management faces many dilemmas when endeavoring to improve the organizational culture and optimize the employee work experience. This webinar puts the puzzle pieces together and gives every manager the tools to become an efficient and effective manager and leader.
The first piece of the puzzle that helps companies maintain economic stability and weather recessions with market downturns is understanding human worth and implementing policies where individuals flourish. A human-led value culture is built on trust, integrity, and gratitude. It is a culture that permits employees to enter the conversation and be heard on issues that affect them. A basic principle in a human-led value culture is that taking care of employees is taking care of business. When employees come first, excellent customer service and stability in the marketplace follow.
In this program you will be you will be led through specific actions that you can take to establish a human-led value culture with the focus on the sensitive and critical touch points between managers and employees as you create a work environment that moves employees from minimal effort to amazing contributions.
The second piece of the puzzle, a complementary piece of the puzzle, is being organized as a leader by using the features of Microsoft Outlook to set goals, assign tasks, and stay on top of deadlines. When you attend, you will learn valuable techniques that will keep you and your team moving forward at the same pace to the same destination: success!
Attend, implement the principles and you’ll become the leader people CHOOSE to follow, not HAVE to follow because of your place on the organizational chart.
Every manager in your organization who wants to become a leader people choose to follow as well as high potentials who want to move into management roles.
Managers and employees in:
Session One: Definition of Discretionary Effort and Introduction to the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model
Duration: 60 minutes
In this session you will:
Session Two: The Base of the Discretionary Effort Pyramid – Create a Culture of Integrity and Watch the Magic of Gratitude Work
Duration: 30 minutes
In this session you will:
As the base of the pyramid shows, the second foundational principle running parallel to integrity in the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model is gratitude. Gratitude is a foreign notion in organizations that work from the do-more-with-less philosophy.
In the course of everyday work, opportunities arise that if acted on by employees will take the organization to the next level. When the actions are acknowledged and gratitude is expressed, people pay attention and are rejuvenated in mysterious ways.
Session Three: The First level of the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model Pyramid – Safety and Security
Duration: 15 minutes
Session Four: The Second Level of the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model – Social Acceptance and Emotional Intelligence
Duration: 75 minutes
You will understand:
Session Five: The Third Level of the RossBrandau Leadership Model – How to Build Rational Alignment with Microsoft Outlook as a Tool
Duration: 45 minutes
You will learn:
This session will be correlated with Microsoft Outlook and you will learn the features in Microsoft Outlook that help you:
Session Six: The Fourth and Fifth Levels of the Discretionary Effort Leadership Model -- Emotional Commitment and Authentic Contributions
Duration: 15 minutes
In the Fourth Leadership Level, Emotional Commitment, you will learn:
Just as people in organizations struggle understanding integrity, they also struggle to understand authentic contribution. Leadership Level 5 describes authentic behaviors on both the managerial and the employee level.
You will understand:
Session Seven: The Charismatic Leader
Duration: 30 Minutes
Closing and Challenge
Duration: 15 Minutes