mailing it in…


I’ve been writing about business for the past 14 years, so I’m pretty set in my personal writing process. Once I choose a topic, let’s just say I try to wrestle it to the ground. A few hours and a lot of rewriting later, I have something I’m pleased with; it passes my own quality standard. Anyway, on this hot summer day, with other projects peering up from in-view paper piles and birds playing in the tree by my window, I feel a strong urge to shortcut my writing process and just “mail it in”—to lower my personal quality standard, so to speak.papers I’m human. I don’t think I’m burnt out, but I do notice that I keep interrupting my writing to deal with other “important” issues. (BTW, it looks like there will be thundershowers in New York this weekend, where my daughter is.) After a while, I realize my level-of-importance-bar for interruption purposes has been knocked off its perch and lays on the floor laughing at me. (Geez, the Dow is down .6% so far today.) I’m battling my shifting focus and tempted to just mail it in, finish quickly, and go with what I have despite knowing I should make it better.

Keep Your Team Focused on Quality During the Late Summer Grind
I’ll bet you and your team have felt similarly on occasion, when a particular job on a particular day becomes a grind. So, how do you keep your team focused on quality work day after day after day? Try exploring these three areas to get your team back on the quality track:

1. Empathy
Don’t ignore the feelings of a team member who has fallen into a suboptimal rut. Be open with your team about the reality of the situation: all humans go through this, but it’s how each overcomes it that separates the great companies from the mediocre. Try changing a regular work break activity to a new, fun break for your team. Take them out to a special lunch, go to a park and have a water balloon toss, or bring something fun to the jobsite or office. The concept is that if work has become a grind, the breaks within the workday are probably “meh” as well. Add a few new, fun work breaks and the lifted spirits will spill right into the job and boost the workday’s team engagement factor.

2. Pride
If you qualify for Diamond Certified, hold a team meeting where you pull out your Diamond Certified Research Report and review all the customer responses and high scores that your team has attained. Get your team pumped up and reveling in each positive customer survey response. Emphasize that they are part of a winning team that takes pride in delivering quality, and stress the need to maintain that quality on every job and customer interaction. Display the Diamond Certified signs, banners and symbols so your staff has visual reinforcement of their championship-level performance.

3. Passion
Reignite the passion for your craft by finding some particularly interesting or new part of a standard job and enthusiastically analyzing it with your team. Change your approach to one item and you’ll increase your team’s passion by creating new thoughts about a predictable job. Still dragging? Change the time of day or place where you typically do that part of the work.