Tuesday, May 3, 2016

They Quit - And Then Stayed!


OK, maybe not this surprised. But very close.
Being surprised recently to learn ROAD warriors is not the commonplace acronym I thought it'd become, well, I do admit having a bad habit of just thinking others have already read the same books I've enjoyed... my bad! And, one of the first along my journey into the very depths of organizational development was First, Break All The Rules, written by Buckingham & Coffman over ten years ago, who reference the (I presumed, well-known) expression. 

In brief, the book was based on a huge Gallup study which took place over a twenty-five year span, outlining twelve points of what the best managers do, in all industries, to engage the hearts, minds, and souls of the best workers, creating what is now commonly referred to as discretionary effort - which is, as most estate managers already know, a very special place located at the complete other end of the estate from where ROAD warriors spend their day. I find myself still referring back frequently to this singular, wholly-applicable, and user-friendly book as the best foundational work on the topic of what people - working in virtually any job - need (not simply want) to do the work you want them to, well, do

I dare say, if you were only going to read one book on improving your skills as a household or estate manager, please... read this one.


Um, no... not the movie.
ROAD - Retired On Active Duty, came into a recent discussion with colleagues of the rather common practice of a new Estate Manager arriving onto the scene of a long-established household staff - especially one where communication, performance and behavioral matters, along with any efforts at engagement for the staff had either fallen by the wayside, or, as possibly, where staff had never actually been cared about enough for these things to have been established in the first place - is able to navigate the machinations of how his/her arrival takes place with the employees' acceptance of his/her presence - and without them bailing out and catching the next bus.

To their minds, and to my Macaulay Culkin like surprise, their worst-case scenario was for domestic staff to be thinking "I'm outta here"... and leaving. I suggested to them quite the opposite: the worst-case scenario for an Estate Manager who enters into a new job is that of the staff thinking "I'm outta here"... and staying!

So then, the time now comes to ask the hard questions. What is the strategy for engaging ROAD warriors... on your estate?  Of seeing their value - and then helping them to know it's their responsibility to fully demonstrate such - on a daily basis?