First Break all the Rules

DebSchuerman_thumbWhen you decide to take a journey, such as a long hike to see the beauty of the desert or to climb a rough mountain, you often have one, or several, motivations and expectations. It may be that you love the outdoors, you’re seeking a challenge, or you’re hiking to stay in shape. Perhaps you have expectations to see the beauty of the land, to catch a glimpse of wildlife or to progress further in your fitness plan.

Do you remember interviewing and putting your best self forward to land your job? When you received that offer letter for that job you just know you are going to love, you also started that journey with a variety of expectations. These could include looking for a challenge, for security, for a great team or a fantastic manager.

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in their book, “First Break all the Rules,” liken the employment process to climbing a mountain in several stages. Just as you begin your hike with expectations, as you face different terrain, views and wildlife at each stage, your expectations during the employment process will also be modified along the way.

There are multiple stages in the employment journey that Coffman and Buckingham identify. In the beginning you’re wondering what is expected of you. Interviews don’t really give all the information needed. After New Employee Celebration you’ll need to learn where to get office supplies, complete further training and use UltiPro. You may be surprised that no one told you about some of the assignments you’d be given. As you sit in your chair during your first week, you may be wondering if you have what you need to get things done.

Once you find out what’s expected and what tools you have, you begin to think about what you can offer and how you can show you’re a successful and valuable employee. You look for feedback on how you’re doing.   You scout for people who are important to you, people who show they care for you as a person, and are interested in your skills.

Eventually you get used to the job and look around for what ways to gain greater skills and value. You’ll look for clues that you’re becoming an indispensable member of the team, and evidence that your opinions count. You’ll also want to know if your job means anything and if it adds to the mission of the organization. Finally, you continue to seek growth and learning opportunities so you can expand your responsibilities and skill sets.

Expectations, tools, what you can offer, how you can be successful, feedback, relationships, being an important team member and being a contributor to the mission of your organization all make a difference in the value you’ll add to the organization and to your personal development.

At Recovery Innovations we’re investing in our employees. We sent out a questionnaire asking for their opinions and started with their views we used that information as a leadership team when we began developing overall organizational mission and goals. Your opinions count. Your survey responses show that empowerment, wellness, hope, community and responsibility were the top core values they shared with us.

The mission and goals we developed slightly resemble “Swiss cheese.” They provide general direction for the organization, but there are holes that we need our people to help fill in.

We will be holding meetings with our employees about our mission and goals for their input and to talk about how they can contribute. We will take that information and further fine-tune the path our organization will take together as we continue to support individuals with behavioral health challenges.

We are working on putting resources into ensuring that our new and current employees know what is expected of them and what they can offer to the people they serve and to our organization. We are working to ensure they get the training and development they need to know how to be empowered to skillfully serve others. We are looking to expand our services in some areas to include co-occurring substance use disorder, co-morbid serious medical conditions and to support individuals at risk of suicide. I’m excited, and I believe our employees will share that excitement as we use the concepts of empowerment, wellness, hope, community and responsibility to build upon their skills to make us a stronger organization as we spread recovery and support to others.

Our people will know how they are contributing to individuals and the organization as we develop a performance review system that includes the outcomes that are important to our organization. We’ll distribute the new performance appraisal template to our employees so they can become familiar with the new structure. We also want our employees to have a say in their own professional and career development efforts. To ensure that their opinions are included, employees will have an opportunity to contribute to a self-evaluation that will then be taken into consideration by their team leader. Their team leader will then contribute and finalize the review and meet with the employee to review together.

We want every one of our employees to gain a greater understanding of the link between their individual efforts and the results that are achieved for their programs and our organization as a whole.

Being a part of an organization that believes in its employees, trains and coaches them, gives them feedback on how they are contributing makes for an empowered organization. That kind of organization can lighten the loads of our employees and the people we all serve as they hike the journey of life together.