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Dec 19 14

Employee Engagement: Hands & Feet Only?

by The Authors
Hearts and Minds

Whenever people put nothing more than their “hands and feet” into their work, expectations go unmet, morale declines, and results plummet. Consider the following telltale signs that might indicate a lack of “hearts and minds” commitment in your organization or along your Expectations Chain:

“Hands and Feet” “Hearts and Minds”
• People are more tactical in the way they work. • People are both strategic and tactical in their approach to the job.
• People make sure they complete the task at hand, sometimes even when it does not make sense to do so. • People make sure they get the desired result, increasing the amount of personal effort to meet the need.
• People easily fall into the “Tell me what to do” mode. • People don’t solely wait for instructions, but show initiative.
• People demonstrate less creativity in solving problems. • People get energized by solving problems creatively.
• People typically don’t speak up because it’s not worth the effort. • People push back if something does not make sense to them.
• People define success by the amount of time and effort they expend. • People define success by the results they get.
• People are not “Into” their jobs and lack fulfillment. • People are engaged in their work and find their jobs highly satisfying.

To successfully deliver on Key Expectations, you must have a high level of commitment, which requires the engagement of “hands and feet” as well as “hearts and minds,” from everyone along your Expectations Chain. Whenever people fail to engage their “hearts and minds,” expectations go unmet. Consider the following case:

Working at an offshore natural gas compression station, a work crew neglected safety protocols while doing crucial “hot” work in a confined space. Heat sensors that should have been turned off before proceeding immediately set off alarms and shut down the entire compression station for two hours. The flow of natural gas came to an abrupt halt. Producers feeding the compression station were shut down and customers waiting on-shore for the natural gas were shut out as excess natural gas was released into the atmosphere. It was a costly mistake with lasting negative effects that could have been easily prevented if the work crew had brought their “hearts and minds,” not just their “hands and feet,” to the work.

Learn more about how to engage the “hearts and minds” of your people by joining the visiting, where you can review actual client case studies.

Expectations Chain is a registered trademark of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other registered trademarks and trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

Dec 11 14

Getting Unstuck

by The Authors

All of us get stuck Below The Line in mental, emotional, or practical ruts from time to time. Admit it, but don’t let your admissions become excuses for diminished performance or remaining stuck. Taking accountability for overcoming ruts and getting unstuck is a learned behavior that can only be improved and honed through practice. Here are some suggestions for getting unstuck:

Discuss ruts and mistakes openly and honestly, without criticism and reprimand.  Every team and organization wants to eliminate or reduce mistakes and ruts because too many can sink the ship.  So it is in the best interest of a team or an organization to establish an environment where mistakes and ruts can be openly discussed, acknowledged, and used as learning tools for developing better solutions.  When this happens, you help each of your direct reports on his or her way to becoming an “expert”—someone who has made many mistakes within a field of practice, has learned from these mistakes, and, as a consequence, has acquired superior knowledge about what mistakes to avoid.  Accelerate the “expert” training in your teams and organization.
Take accountability for something that you have been ignoring or neglecting—a problem, a goal, a process, a relationship, a result. Make the appropriate apologies for not taking accountability sooner, and then develop a solution-oriented, results-driven plan of action. Make a commitment to yourself that you won’t criticize others for not taking accountability for their actions before first reexamining your own lack of accountability. Personal accountability always comes first.
Praise the people around you whenever they take steps to get out of their ruts. Help your direct reports avoid defensiveness, excuses, a victim mentality, or other Below The Line behaviors and attitudes when it comes to their ruts. This increased focus and attention will build awareness of and sensitivity to the detrimental and damaging effects of getting stuck in ruts. Always praise the rut busters!

To learn more about how to overcome mental, emotional, and practical ruts as an individual or an organization, we invite you to join our Accountability Community at, where you can review the stories and case studies of actual leaders and organizations.

Below The Line and Accountability Community are registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other registered trademarks and trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

Dec 4 14

High Performance Teams

by The Authors
High Performance Team

The first characteristic of a high performance team is the ability to set a clear direction—i.e., the ability to clearly define and communicate the results the team wants to achieve. Accountability, culture change, and performance improvement begin with well-defined results. In fact, it makes little sense to initiate any accountability or culture change or performance improvement process without first clearly identifying the results (outcomes) you want and need to deliver.

High performance teams never initiate organizational change efforts without clearly defining the Key Results that must guide the desired change. Why? Because the most compelling reason to work on your organization’s accountability or culture or performance is to produce greater results. Remember, your culture produces your results, and your level of accountability determines the pace and effectiveness of your performance improvement.

Watch and listen to Ken Buchanan, Executive VP of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, as he talks about the power and unity that come from clearly defining the Key Results you want and need to deliver.

To learn more about how to create and sustain high performance teams, we invite you to join the Accountability Community and review actual client case studies by visiting

Accountability Community is a registered trademark of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other registered trademarks and trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.