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Jerry Pounds is President, International Division for QualitySafety Edge (QSE). Jerry has 40 years of consulting and coaching experience in the areas of behavioral analysis and performance improvement.He has designed and implemented hundreds of strategic performance improvement initiatives in almost every major industry category such as agriculture..., aircraft, automotive, insurance, manufacturing, mining, pharmaceuticals, and retail. His clients include Maritz, Ford Motor Company, Wal Mart, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Volkswagen, Cominco Mining, Miller Brewing Company, Kroger, Vought Aircraft Industries, Agrium Industries, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, United Technologies, and many other Fortune 500 Companies.Jerry specializes in the development of behavior-based recognition systems and award-winning performance and quality improvement initiatives. He has published in a number of business magazines and management Websites.Jerry earned his BA in English Literature and Psychology from Georgia State University.It’s not just the world’s evolving humanism that makes the difference in safety; it’s the evolving recognition that safe companies are profitable companies. The safer you are the more profitable you can be. The world is seeing that having safe employees is good business. —Jerry Pounds More

Corporate Culture as an Extension of Leader Behavior

Corporate Culture as an Extension of Leader Behavior

If you Google “Organizational Culture,” you get over 4,000,000 search results. Wikipedia has one of the first results, and as you scan the description you immediately began to blanch with confusion. If you work in a corporation that will soon undertake a “culture change” initiative, you may begin to tear up. Here is the first paragraph of Wikipedia’s description:

“Organizational culture, or corporate culture, comprises the attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values of an organization. It has been defined as the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization. Organizational values are beliefs and ideas about what kinds of goals members of an organization should pursue and ideas about the appropriate kinds or standards of behavior organizational members should use to achieve these goals. From organizational values develop organizational norms, guidelines or expectations that prescribe appropriate kinds of behavior by employees in particular situations and control the behavior of organizational members towards one another.” —Wikipedia

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Be Positive, but Be the Boss

Be Positive, but Be the Boss

Always try to say positive things about their work when you are going to ask them to do something extra, or something onerous that no one else wants to do. You have to set them up right or they may try to back out.

Don’t attempt to learn too much about the actual work they do. All that detail gets boring. Knowing the job is their business. If you make a few mistakes – so what. You have a big job and a lot on your plate.

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The Supervisory Relationship is the Key to Employee Engagement

The Supervisory Relationship is the Key to Employee Engagement

I begin this blog with a declaration that I intend to validate throughout the body of this entry: The key to employee engagement is emotional commitment which is in turn most closely linked to discretionary effort.Rewards, transactional positive reinforcement (supervisor occasionally using verbal reinforcement), and incentives in general do not change behavior in the long term; the biochemistry of the brain—serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters—the chemicals of employee engagement, of emotions and learning—are most effectively catalyzed through ongoing manager activities and attributes. Reinforcing work dialogs, which in turn build reinforcing manager-employee relationships, are the most effective means of eliciting employee emotional commitment to the job and the organization.

In 2004, the Corporate Leadership Council published a study—Driving Employee Performance and Retention through Engagement: A Quantitative Analysis of the Effectiveness of Employee Engagement Strategies. They surveyed 50,000 employees in 59 organizations within 27 countries.These data support the results of many other studies on employee engagement: Individual acts of reward and reinforcement do not compensate for a negative relationship with one’s organization or one’s manager. The best way to achieve emotional commitment from employees is through the creation of an emotionally nurturing organizational environment—a “reinforcing environment,” a history of reinforcement--a reinforcing relationship.

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How to Deliver Positive Reinforcement That Works!

How to Deliver Positive Reinforcement That Works!

Most supervisors want to be well-liked by their employees. Many of us don't have a likable personality; we are not well suited to be supervisors. We either don't have the social skills or we are too impatient or we are too perfectionistic. But, we have the job and we're doing our best.

We're told supervisors who get the highest levels of performance from their employees use positive reinforcement (R+). The problems is, positive reinforcement does not work--your efforts to R+ someone are not effective--if you have a poor relationship with the person you are trying to R+. Your relationship with an employee does not improve just because you try to positively reinforce them.

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Preparing for Management Self-Development

Preparing for Management Self-Development

In my last blog, Engaging Supervisory Interactions, I presented the rationale for having productive conversations with your direct reports. Most supervisors will have to gradually develop the ability to talk with employees in this manner; it is a new skill set for most of us. If you are fortunate enough to work for a company that implements an initiative surrounding this process, it will be much easier.

I recently spent several days in a manufacturing plant in America—in a company that says and does all the things fashionable to create employee engagement. As I had occasion to talk with the front line employees, they expressed dissatisfaction in regard to supervisory interpersonal behavior. The supervisor’s peers corroborated the employee’s concerns.

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Engaging Supervisory Interactions

Engaging Supervisory Interactions

Positive reinforcement works; it fulfills every employee’s basic need to feel valued—cared about by the organization, their supervisor and leadership. When positive reinforcement is delivered while the behavior is occurring, it acknowledges the employees contribution in real time; it captures the moment when a valued added behavior—discretionary effort—can be encouraged or discouraged.

As discussed in my last blog most positive verbal comments are usually delivered after a behavior has occurs—when the employee is no longer engaged in the behavior. The supervisor is acknowledging the performance result that was created by one or more effective employee behaviors. Positive verbal recognition is a more accurate description of the supervisor’s action.

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