Ever since I entered the collection industry I’ve heard about the importance of a positive mental attitude. I’m a positive person as it is so it didn’t take long for me to embrace and eventually preach the value of having a positive mindset. The mind is the most powerful tool we possess. It can bring success and if not used properly can bring failure. As leaders it is our responsibility to create a culture of positivity while encouraging the behaviors we expect.
Years ago we came up with an initiative to increase morale around the office. The acronym for the name of our company is DOG so we thought it would be fitting to name the initiative PAWS, “Positive attitudes will succeed.” Every quarter two employees from each department volunteer to be part of the PAWS committee. They discuss ways to improve morale and come up with fun contests and social events for our employees.
Throughout the years our past president would come up with catchy slogans and clever acronyms in an attempt to create the culture we desired but the majority of them seemed to come and go with time. In January of 2017 our new president empowered the leadership team to come up with five behaviors that we felt were important to our growth and success. During our annual senior leadership meeting each of us wrote the behaviors we thought were important on a large dry erase board and then we all voted until we agreed on the five behaviors we would begin to encourage and expect from our workforce. We named the behaviors our star behaviors, created a logo and displayed it throughout the office. We then printed up hundreds of star cards for leadership to give out to employees who exhibited one or more of our star behaviors. In the beginning we would give the star cards out throughout the week when an employee displayed the behaviors we were encouraging. Over the past few months we’ve started to give them out during our weekly floor meetings so praise is given while everyone is present. Nothing feels better than to receive praise in front of your peers. Positivity becomes contagious and eventually others will strive to be the next to receive such praise. For almost two years the entire organization has embraced the culture we created. It’s lasted because the leaders responsible for encouraging the behaviors are the same people who created them. In order for your employees to buy in you must have buy in from your leadership team.
Below are the five behaviors we expect from everyone in our organization:
Whether you’re speaking to a consumer, third party or co-worker, be present and focused in everything you do.
Taking personal accountability for actions, processes and the job. Not who should but I should.
In an industry that comes with a lot of negativity you must remain positive in order to be successful.
If you don’t an agree with something or have anan idea that could make it anbetter we ask that you an challenge and change the an status quo.
Being honest, open anand considerate to each other.
We not only refer to our star behaviors when an employee has demonstrated one or more of them, we also refer to our star behaviors when someone has not demonstrated one or more of the behaviors. For example, if someone generates an avoidable complaint, the majority of time it’s because they weren’t being respectful. If someone exhibits negativity on the floor we will work with the employee to identify the behaviors that could be improved. We explain how the behavior is important to our organization, team and also his/her personal goals. We discuss the negative outcomes from not demonstrating the behavior. We clearly articulate our expectations, set priorities (i.e., what behavior(s) should be addressed first) and teach employees to always reflect on behaviors.
As organizations grow in size it can be easy to forget the values on which the organization was founded. It’s extremely important for leadership to always be mindful of who has contributed to the growth and recognize those on a daily basis. I believe that our organization can and will achieve greatness so long as those who continue to contribute daily are recognized and appreciated.