Third of 3 | Things Managers Do to Set Staff Up for Success

I read this and immediately began to ask myself, “Is anyone listening?”

3. Provide a path for the employee. Twenty years of the same job won’t get or keep a lot of people.  Reid Hoffman , founder of LinkedIn  and the author of The Start Up of You , states that companies want and need to hire people, but only those who want to be a part of what the organization is doing.

  • Have a plan for employees that shows them where they will be in 1 year, 18 months, 2 years. Waiting 5 years won’t work any longer.
  • Zappos  has a great practice of promoting associates in small chunks of time rather than waiting two years. They have mini-goals set up the employee can achieve.  This enables the employee to achieve goals at a quicker pace but the end result is the same.

Very few companies are actually training people. They are expected to come equipped ready to work.  The mindset is “what are you bringing to the table”? However, it’s important to set the employee up for success on the front end with:

  • A solid job description and clear expectations
  • Training and development opportunities
  • A path to grow and develop with the organization
There are a LOT of orgs that talk a good game of “growing” their people and “promoting from within.”
But are they actually doing it?

3 Goals of a Career Activist

An excerpt from an interesting career article I read recently:

How do you keep your career in motion? By setting and working continuously toward 3 goals:

Your Achievement Goal is something you can accomplish in the next six-to-twelve months. It identifies an outcome you can achieve in your current job, such as a step-up in your performance, the completion of a special project, the solution to an especially tough problem or the resolution of an issue that has degraded your work. It enables you to give your employer a fulsome return on its investment in you and to give yourself a “career victory” that is meaningful and useful for you.

Your Advancement Goal is an objective you can reach in the next three-to-five years. It identifies the next job you want to hold or the next level of work you want to be able to perform. It may involve your current employer or it may require that you move to another work situation, but it will always represent a major leap forward in your capability and contribution in the workplace. Your advancement goal should stretch you beyond your current level of performance, but also be a realistic challenge. It is a brass ring, but one that you have a reasonable chance of grabbing.

Your Development Goal is the bridge between your achievement goal and your advancement goal. It enables you to build on the success you accomplish in the near term by adding the supplemental skills and knowledge that prepare you to conquer each of the challenges you identify for the longer term in your career. Your development goal transforms you from a stationary state to one in motion, from operating as a worker-in-place to the continual growth of a worker-in-progress.

More at

Advice for People Who Are Too Nice []

This excerpt from

1. Business is competitive. Deal with it.
Edelman interviewed Sam DiPiazza Jr., the CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers, for his book. DiPiazza had this to say about business, according to Edelman: “Business, whether we like it or not, includes competition. It’s challenging, aggressive and very demanding. Despite the perception of many, it can also be performed nicely.”

2. Sometimes being nice isn’t very nice at all.
Edelman also spoke with the CEO of the American Cancer Society, John Seffrin, who believes that when mangers are too nice and are incapable of having honest discussions with others (such as during a performance review) for fear of hurting feelings, they’re in fact not being nice at all and they’re doing a disservice to the people they manage.

3. Confrontation is not necessarily a bad thing.
Nice people avoid confrontation because it’s uncomfortable, says Edelman. If nice people are to be more assertive, they need to understand the business value of confrontation: it allows them to solve problems. Edelman points to a strategy employed by 1-800-GOT-JUNK CEO Brian Scudamore, which Scudamore calls “race to the conflict.” The idea is, if a conflict or issue comes up, employees should race to it to get it resolved as quickly as possible. If they don’t, they’re wasting time.

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity, from Staples Workspace newsletter

By Steve Pavlina

Heuristics are rules intended to help you solve problems. When a problem is large or complex, and the optimal solution is unclear, applying a heuristic allows you to begin making progress towards a solution even though you can’t visualize the entire path from your starting point.

Suppose your goal is to climb to the peak of a mountain, but there’s no trail to follow. An example of a heuristic would be: Head directly towards the peak until you reach an obstacle you can’t cross. Whenever you reach such an obstacle, follow it around to the right until you’re able to head towards the peak once again. This isn’t the most intelligent or comprehensive heuristic, but in many cases it will work just fine, and you’ll eventually reach the peak.

Heuristics don’t guarantee you’ll find the optimal solution, nor do they generally guarantee a solution at all. But they do a good enough job of solving certain types of problems to be useful. Their strength is that they break the deadlock of indecision and get you into action. As you take action you begin to explore the solution space, which deepens your understanding of the problem. As you gain knowledge about the problem, you can make course corrections along the way, gradually improving your chances of finding a solution. If you try to solve a problem you don’t initially know how to solve, you’ll often figure out a solution as you go, one you never could have imagined until you started moving. This is especially true with creative work such as software development. Often you don’t even know exactly what you’re trying to build until you start building it.

Heuristics have many practical applications, and one of my favorite areas of application is personal productivity. Productivity heuristics are behavioral rules (some general, some situation-specific) that can help us get things done more efficiently. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Nuke it! The most efficient way to get through a task is to delete it. If it doesn’t need to be done, get it off your to do list.
  2. Daily goals. Without a clear focus, it’s too easy to succumb to distractions. Set targets for each day in advance. Decide what you’ll do; then do it.
  3. Worst first. To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day. This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.
  4. Peak times. Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times. Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.
  5. No-comm zones. Allocate uninterruptible blocks of time for solo work where you must concentrate. Schedule light, interruptible tasks for your open-comm periods and more challenging projects for your no-comm periods.
  6. Mini-milestones. When you begin a task, identify the target you must reach before you can stop working. For example, when working on a book, you could decide not to get up until you’ve written at least 1000 words. Hit your target no matter what.
  7. Timeboxing. Give yourself a fixed time period, like 30 minutes, to make a dent in a task. Don’t worry about how far you get. Just put in the time.
  8. Batching. Batch similar tasks like phone calls or errands into a single chunk, and knock them off in a single session.
  9. Early bird. Get up early in the morning, like at 5am, and go straight to work on your most important task. You can often get more done before 8am than most people do in a day.
  10. Cone of silence. Take a laptop with no network or WiFi access, and go to a place where you can work flat out without distractions, such as a library, park, coffee house, or your own backyard. Leave your comm gadgets behind.
  11. Tempo. Deliberately pick up the pace, and try to move a little faster than usual. Speak faster. Walk faster. Type faster. Read faster. Go home sooner.
  12. Relaxify. Reduce stress by cultivating a relaxing, clutter-free workspace.
  13. Agendas. Provide clear written agendas to meeting participants in advance. This greatly improves meeting focus and efficiency. You can use it for phone calls too.
  14. Pareto. The Pareto principle is the 80-20 rule, which states that 80% of the value of a task comes from 20% of the effort. Focus your energy on that critical 20%, and don’t overengineer the non-critical 80%.
  15. Ready-fire-aim. Bust procrastination by taking action immediately after setting a goal, even if the action isn’t perfectly planned. You can always adjust course along the way.
  16. Minuteman. Once you have the information you need to make a decision, start a timer and give yourself just 60 seconds to make the actual decision. Take a whole minute to vacillate and second-guess yourself all you want, but come out the other end with a clear choice. Once your decision is made, take some kind of action to set it in motion.
  17. Deadline. Set a deadline for task completion, and use it as a focal point to stay on track.
  18. Promise. Tell others of your commitments, since they’ll help hold you accountable.
  19. Punctuality. Whatever it takes, show up on time. Arrive early.
  20. Gap reading. Use reading to fill in those odd periods like waiting for an appointment, standing in line, or while the coffee is brewing. If you’re a male, you can even read an article while shaving (preferably with an electric razor). That’s 365 articles a year.
  21. Resonance. Visualize your goal as already accomplished. Put yourself into a state of actually being there. Make it real in your mind, and you’ll soon see it in your reality.
  22. Glittering prizes. Give yourself frequent rewards for achievement. See a movie, book a professional massage, or spend a day at an amusement park.
  23. Quad 2. Separate the truly important tasks from the merely urgent. Allocate blocks of time to work on the critical Quadrant 2 tasks, those which are important but rarely urgent, such as physical exercise, writing a book, and finding a relationship partner.
  24. Continuum. At the end of your workday, identify the first task you’ll work on the next day, and set out the materials in advance. The next day begin working on that task immediately.
  25. Slice and dice. Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks. Focus on completing just one of those tasks.
  26. Single-handling. Once you begin a task, stick with it until it’s 100% complete. Don’t switch tasks in the middle. When distractions come up, jot them down to be dealt with later.
  27. Randomize. Pick a totally random piece of a larger project, and complete it. Pay one random bill. Make one phone call. Write page 42 of your book.
  28. Insanely bad. Defeat perfectionism by completing your task in an intentionally terrible fashion, knowing you need never share the results with anyone. Write a blog post about the taste of salt, design a hideously dysfunctional web site, or create a business plan that guarantees a first-year bankruptcy. With a truly horrendous first draft, there’s nowhere to go but up.
  29. 30 days. Identify a new habit you’d like to form, and commit to sticking with it for just 30 days. A temporary commitment is much easier to keep than a permanent one.
  30. Delegate. Convince someone else to do it for you.
  31. Cross-pollination. Sign up for martial arts, start a blog, or join an improv group. You’ll often encounter ideas in one field that can boost your performance in another.
  32. Intuition. Go with your gut instinct. It’s probably right.
  33. Optimization. Identify the processes you use most often, and write them down step-by-step. Refactor them on paper for greater efficiency. Then implement and test your improved processes. Sometimes we just can’t see what’s right in front of us until we examine it under a microscope.



Marcus Buckingham Thinks Your Boss Has an Attitude Problem

Fast Company

Marcus Buckingham Thinks Your Boss Has an Attitude Problem

Marcus Buckingham teaches CEOs how to get the most out of their people and their organizations. His first lesson: Forget everything you think you know about being a leader.

From: Issue 49 | July 2001 | Page 88 | By: Polly LaBarre

There is a noble promise at the heart of the new world of business: Everyone has the right to meaningful work, and people who do meaningful work create the most value in the marketplace. Even as the talent wars have fizzled into pink-slip parties, few senior executives would dispute the vital importance of finding, engaging, and developing the best people. Ask any CEO, “What’s your company’s most precious asset?” Without hesitation, the answer will be, “Our people.” Ask the same CEO, “What’s the primary source of your competitive advantage?” Chances are, the reply will be, “Our unique culture.”

This kind of talk drives Marcus Buckingham nuts. It’s not that he disagrees with the sentiments — he’s spent his 15-year career as a pioneering researcher and a global-practice leader at the Gallup Organization, making the link between people, their performance, and business results. What troubles him is the lack of rigor behind the rhetoric. “There’s a juicy irony here,” says the 35-year-old Cambridge-educated Brit. “You won’t find a CEO who doesn’t talk about a ‘powerful culture’ as a source of competitive advantage. At the same time, you’d be hard-pressed to find a CEO who has much of a clue about the strength of that culture. The corporate world is appallingly bad at capitalizing on the strengths of its people.”

Buckingham, on the other hand, is remarkably good at communicating his subversive message. He has produced two best-selling books: First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (Simon & Schuster, 1999), with coauthor Curt Coffman, and Now, Discover Your Strengths (The Free Press, 2001), with coauthor Donald O. Clifton. Meanwhile, Buckingham has helped build a ballooning consulting practice at Gallup, with more than 1,000 clients, including Best Buy, Disney, Fidelity Investments, Toyota, and Wells Fargo.

His mission, as he describes it, sounds almost quaint: “to create a better marriage between the dreams of workers and the drive of companies to win.” His methodology is anything but quaint. Buckingham has led an effort inside Gallup to crunch three decades’ worth of data on worker attitudes into actionable insights on human performance and productivity. First, he and his team tapped into a database of more than 1 million Gallup surveys that focused on workers from around the world. Although these workers had been asked many questions, there was one big question behind the interviews: “What does a strong and vibrant workplace look like?” Buckingham eventually distilled 12 core issues (called the “Q12” in Gallup-speak) that represent a simple barometer of the strength of any work unit.

Next, Buckingham’s team ran massive number-crunching studies to analyze how answers to the Q12 shaped hard-core business results. The link between people and performance was vivid. The most “engaged” workplaces (those in the top 25% of Q12 scores) were 50% more likely to have lower turnover, 56% more likely to have higher-than-average customer loyalty, 38% more likely to have above-average productivity, and 27% more likely to report higher profitability.

Buckingham and his colleagues made one other finding that startled them: There was more variation in Q12 scores within companies than between companies. That is, in each of the more than 200 organizations that he analyzed, Buckingham found some of the most-engaged groups and some of the least-engaged groups. His conclusion: There is no such thing as a corporate culture. Companies are made up of many cultures, the strengths and weaknesses of which are a result of local conditions.

“It’s staggering,” he says. “Few of the CEOs in our study could say which work units in their company were engaged effectively and which weren’t. They didn’t know where their culture was strong and where it was weak, whether it was getting better or getting worse — or how much this variation was costing.”

Talk about speaking truth to power. CEOs don’t understand what makes their employees tick. They don’t know how to get the best performance out of the most people. They can’t say where their companies are strongest or weakest — or why. And that’s just the first of Buckingham’s series of assumption-busting messages. “The major challenge for CEOs over the next 20 years will be the effective deployment of human assets,” he declares. “But that’s not about ‘organizational development’ or ‘workplace design.’ It’s about psychology. It’s about getting one more individual to be more productive, more focused, more fulfilled than he was yesterday.”

In several conversations with Fast Company, the tireless Buckingham offered an overview of his pathbreaking research and identified five attitude adjustments that redefine the essence of leadership in business.

Attitude Adjustment #1

Measure what really matters. (By the way — the numbers you’re using now don’t matter.)

Numbers are crucial to running a company, and CEOs love them. Yet the numbers that most leaders use to manage the people who are part of their business are mostly off target. The CEOs who come to us are almost always fixated on two questions: How is our average performance improving over time? and How do we stack up against our competitors?

Both of those questions obscure what’s really important. Averages hide the fact that within any company are some of the most-engaged work groups and some of the least-engaged work groups. But this range is what is most revealing.

You can divide any working population into three categories: people who are engaged (loyal and productive), those who are not engaged (just putting in time), and those who are actively disengaged (unhappy and spreading their discontent). The U.S. working population is 26% engaged, 55% not engaged, and 19% actively disengaged.

In essence, then, the CEO’s job is to improve the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged workers. But here’s the problem: Few of the CEOs in our study could say which work units in their company were effectively engaged and which weren’t. They didn’t know where their culture was strong and where it was weak, whether it was getting better or getting worse.

That’s where the Q12 comes in. Survey the workforce every six months, and the result will be a vivid picture of which work units are engaged in a way that leads to the best performance and which workers are not.

I work closely with Best Buy, the big electronics retailer. When they started surveying their employees in 1997, they were in the 45th percentile of our Q12 database. By the end of last year, they were in the 70th percentile. More important, in those four years, 99 stores improved their Q12 scores significantly, while just 18 stores had scores that fell. The 99 stores that improved their engagement level dramatically improved their P&L budgets. The stores whose engagement level fell missed their P&L budgets. These are the numbers that matter.

Attitude Adjustment #2

Stop trying to change people. Start trying to help them become more of who they already are.

CEOs hate variance. It’s the enemy. Variance in customer service is bad. Variance in quality is bad. CEOs love processes that are standardized, routinized, predictable. Stamping out variance makes a complex job a bit less complex.

There is, however, one resource inside all companies that will hinder any attempt to eliminate variance: each individual’s personality. Human beings are the one irreducible complexity in every company. And you can’t eliminate that complexity by forcing people to become more like one another. You can’t standardize human behavior. Of course, that’s precisely what most leaders attempt to do. That goal — standardizing human behavior — is the driving force behind most executive-training programs and leadership-development courses. What’s the quickest way to build a coherent culture? Get everyone to manage the same way.

Not only is that approach psychologically daft, it’s hugely inefficient. It’s fighting human nature, and anyone who fights human nature will lose. The best managers don’t even try to fight that fight. We studied 80,000 of them from 400 different companies — people who excelled at getting great performance from their people. These managers followed the same basic set of principles: People don’t change that much, so don’t waste your time trying to rewire them or trying to put in what was left out. Instead, spend your time trying to draw out what was left in. When it comes to getting the best performance out of people, the most efficient route is to revel in their strengths, not to focus on their weaknesses.

Let me give you an example from my company. Our senior VP of marketing, Larry Emond, doesn’t have a lick of empathy. It was surgically removed at birth. He also lacks a quality that I call “developer”: getting a kick out of seeing someone else grow. Now, I could spend my time admonishing Larry. I could try to explain to him why that blistering email he dashed off had a crushing effect on several people. But he still wouldn’t get it.

You might think that Larry is doomed to be a poor manager. Absolutely not. Larry’s strength is that he has the qualities of self-assurance and a strategic mind-set. He doesn’t need to have empathy to achieve results. People feel that Larry encourages their development, because he keeps thinking about how they can be part of this future he’s describing.

Now Larry’s approach seems obvious — why would you do anything else? And yet, in most organizations, Larry would be confronted by some nice, well-intentioned HR person — probably going off of feedback from a 360-degree survey — who would say, “Larry, as a leader, you need to be more responsive to your direct reports.” There would be a lot of, “Tone that down, Larry.” Well, how about, “Dial that up, Larry”?

If you are clear about the outcome that you want, instead of standardizing the qualities and steps that you think are required to get to that outcome, you should honor the fact that Larry’s nature is irreducibly unique — rather than wasting time and money wishing that it weren’t so. What goes for Larry goes for all kinds of people in companies. The best strategy for building a competitive organization is to help individuals become more of who they are.

Attitude Adjustment #3

You’re not the most important person in the company. (Believe it or not, your middle managers are.)

American culture is CEO obsessed. We celebrate the hard-charging heroes and mythologize the iconoclastic visionaries. Those people are important. But when it comes to getting the most productivity out of everyone in the company, they’re not the most important people. Our research tells us that the single most important determinant of individual performance is a person’s relationship with his or her immediate manager. It just doesn’t matter much if you work for one of the “100 Best Companies,” the world’s most respected brand, or the ultimate employee-focused organization. Without a robust relationship with a manager who sets clear expectations, knows you, trusts you, and invests in you, you’re less likely to stay and perform.

I admit, it seems like the most obvious point in the world. But do we revere the role of the middle manager? Hardly. We don’t even like the term! We’d rather transform everyone into grassroots leaders, change agents, intrapreneurs. We look at managers as costs to be cut — or, at best, as leaders-in-waiting, people who are putting in time before they get the big job.

So what exactly do great managers do? First, the best managers start with a radical assumption: Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the area of his greatest strength. It goes back to my last point. Good managers believe that each person is wired in a unique way — and these managers are fascinated by this individuality. Rather than seek to round it out or fill it in, the best managers do everything they can to sharpen and amplify that uniqueness. And then those managers work with people to help them understand their strengths, to build on them, to give them the confidence to be different.

Attitude Adjustment #4

Stop looking to the outside for help. The solutions to your problems exist inside your company.

Talent is a multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield will be. That’s why the best leaders are relentless at seeking out, shadowing, studying, and highlighting the lessons of their own top performers.

The funny thing is that most CEOs spend their time benchmarking best practices in other companies. They want to know how they’re doing relative to their peers. I tell my clients, Don’t go on a tour of Disney, Southwest Airlines, or Discover Financial Services. You have some of the world’s best managers working inside your own company. Look to them first. Learn from your own people first.

At Gallup, we’ve spent years documenting the simple, charming secrets of these extraordinary people. In the corners of every big company that we’ve studied, there are hundreds or thousands of them toiling away in relative obscurity. If you find them and shine a light on them, they will point the company’s way to the future.

Take another look at Best Buy. It’s like a controlled laboratory that is devoted to understanding the power of local managers and local work groups. In a sense, the company’s strategy is built on uniformity — everything from store layout to product positioning to uniforms to operations manuals are standardized across the country. Yet even across 400 nearly identical environments, there’s an amazing range of employee engagement and business performance. In the Best Buy store that has the highest Q12 scores, 91% of employees strongly agreed with the statement, “I know what’s expected of me at work.” In the store with the lowest score, just 27% agreed.

Not incidentally, the store with the highest Q12 score ranks in the top 10% of Best Buy stores as measured by P&L budget variance — and the store with the worst Q12 score falls in the bottom 10%. To improve overall corporate performance, Best Buy’s leaders don’t need to look outside the company. They just need to figure out how to build on the strengths of its best stores.

Building on these strengths means identifying internal best practices and shining a light on your best managers — people like Ralph Gonzalez. Ralph is a store manager who was charged with resurrecting a troubled Best Buy in Hialeah, Florida. He immediately named the store the Revolution, drafted a Declaration of Revolution, and launched project teams, complete with army fatigues. He posted detailed performance numbers in the break room and deliberately over-celebrated every small achievement. To drive home the point that excellence is ubiquitous, he gave every employee a whistle and told them to blow it loudly whenever they “caught” anybody — whether coworker or supervisor — doing something “revolutionary.” Today, the whistles drown out the store’s soundtrack, and, by any metric — sales growth, profit growth, customer satisfaction, employee retention — the Hialeah store is one of Best Buy’s best.

But here’s what really impressed me. Most companies would take a best practice like Ralph’s whistle and say, “That’s a great form of recognition. Let’s give out whistles in every store.” Best Buy did something much smarter: It extracted and spread the core lesson from Ralph’s best practice, rather than institutionalizing the practice itself.

Attitude Adjustment #5

Don’t assume that everyone wants your job — or that great people want to be promoted out of what they do best.

There are two myths about talent that feed the conventional — and misguided — approach to career tracks and leadership development in most companies. The first myth: Talent is rare and special. Wrong. We all have talent. What’s rare and special is a worker who finds a role that suits his or her talents. The second myth: Some roles are so easy that they don’t require talent. Wrong again. We hear a lot about developing more respect for frontline workers and customer-facing employees, but peel the onion and you run into a rigid hierarchy of jobs. The compensation system evolves out of that hierarchy. So do titles and careers.

We say that we want to build world-class organizations. That’s meaningless if we don’t value world-class performance in every role. Yet the people who touch customers the most — hotel housekeepers, outbound telemarketers — get the least respect and the lowest paychecks. The assumption is that anyone can do that job and that nobody would want to do it if they were given a choice to do something else. Frontline talent has a prestige problem, and it’s turning into a corporate-performance problem.

We studied the 3,000 housekeepers of a 15,000-room luxury-hotel chain. It turns out that great housekeepers are not beaten down by the relentless grind of cleaning rooms. On the contrary, they seem to be energized by doing the work. In their minds, the work they do asks that they be accountable and creative and that they achieve something tangible every day.

Unfortunately, the only way we have to reward excellence on the front lines is to promote people out of the very roles that they do best. We turn great housekeepers into supervisors, virtuoso shelf stockers into salespeople, and managers into leaders. A major challenge for CEOs is to define excellence in every role — and pay on it, award titles on it, distribute prestige on it, and make it a genuine career choice.

Satisfaction at work depends on nothing more than self-knowledge. And that gets leaders right back to their main task of engaging their employees at every level. What are you doing to turn your people’s talent into the kind of performance that thrills customers, whether those customers are internal or external? The beautiful thing about a culture that is built by focusing on individual strengths is that no one can steal it. And any advantage that’s hard to steal is an advantage that lasts.

Polly LaBarre ( is a Fast Company senior editor based in New York. Contact Marcus Buckingham by email (

Sidebar: 12 Questions That Matter

If you want to build the most powerful company possible, then your first job is to help every person generate compelling answers to 12 simple questions about the day-to-day realities of his or her job. These are the factors, argue Marcus Buckingham and his colleagues at the Gallup Organization, that determine whether people are engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged at work.

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment that I need in order to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the past seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel that my job is important?
  9. Are my coworkers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the past six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This past year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

(c) 1992-1999, The Gallup Organization, Princeton, NJ. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2007 Mansueto Ventures LLC. All rights reserved.
Fast Company, 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007-2195

The Gallup Q12 Engagement Questionnaire

After hundreds of focus groups and thousands of interviews with employees in a variety of industries, Gallup came up with the Q12, a 12-question survey that identifies strong feelings of employee engagement. Results from the survey show a strong correlation between high scores and superior job performance. Here are those 12 questions:

  • Do you know what is expected of you at work?

  • Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right?

  • At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?

  • In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?

  • Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?

  • Is there someone at work who encourages your development?

  • At work, do your opinions seem to count?

  • Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?

  • Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?

  • Do you have a best friend at work?

  • In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?

  • In the last year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Reprinted with permission. Copyright 1992-1999 The Gallup Organization, Princeton, NJ. All rights reserved. Gallup and Q12 are registered trademarks of The Gallup Organization.


Gallup Great Workplace Award 2007

Gallup Great Workplace Award

Organization Award

The world’s top-performing companies help lead the global economy by engaging their workforces. These companies understand that employee engagement is a force that drives real business outcomes. Based on exhaustive research, rigorous criteria, and the evaluation of workplace experts, the Gallup Great Workplace Awards recognize these excellent companies for their extraordinary ability to create an engaged workplace culture.

2007 Gallup Great Workplace Award Winners

The 2007 Gallup Great Workplace Award was presented to 12 of the world’s most engaged and productive workforces.  These 12 companies are:

  • ABC Supply
  • B&Q
  • Blue Care Network of Michigan
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Hendrick Health System
  • Marriott Vacation Club International
  • Starbucks Corporation
  • St. Joseph Health System
  • Stryker
  • The Park Hotels
  • Wells Fargo
  • Winegardner & Hammons, Inc.

On June 12, the Great Workplace Award winners presented the improved business results they achieved through building an engaged workforce at the 2007 Gallup Great Workplace Summit at Gallup’s world headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“Studying more than 10 million employees worldwide allowed us to set an extraordinarily high bar for this award,” said Tom Rath, who leads Gallup’s Workplace and Leadership Consulting practice. “The winners have gone far beyond just offering nice perks and benefits. They have created an environment that truly engages people every day, throughout the organization.”

In 2007, companies were recognized for fostering engagement based on these criteria:

  • a total sample size of at least 1,000 respondents
  • a Q12 response rate of 80% or higher
  • a Q12 GrandMean score of 4.15 or higher in at least 50% of the organization’s workgroups
  • business impact results detailed in a one-page description that links engagement to business outcomes
  • a best-practices portfolio that includes:
    • a strategic plan that highlights building engagement in the organization
    • two or three best-practice organization-wide initiatives
    • 20 best-practice workgroup-level action plans
    • one example of a tool, program, or process that has been created or used to increase or promote employee engagement in the organization
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