The Culture of Improvement

The Culture of Improvement

Employee perspective

As the day was coming to an end, an employee approached her boss late in the afternoon. She said, “Al. I know that you love me, but I also know that you will fire you if I don’t do my job.” The manager responded, “Yes, I do, and I will, but that will not happen.” We will. This is the essence of the culture for improvement. Every employee is aware of their responsibilities and what the consequences are for failing to meet them. This isn’t all. Employees also know that their leaders will do everything possible to help them succeed, making termination an unlikely possibility.

Leaders must be able to understand the anxiety that comes with a job. This is for most people the only way to support their families. Loss of income can put responsibilities today and future dreams in danger. Performance suffers and employees feel more fear. Leaders need to show empathy and understanding. Being a great manager is essential.

Manger Value Add

Baseball’s WAR is wins over replacement. This statistic shows how valuable a player is compared to an average replacement. MVR refers to how much a manager can increase the effectiveness of direct reports over a manager who is strictly administrative.

During a coaching conversation, a struggling manager asked me what the differences were between him and the front desk security guard if they switched jobs. He tried to understand my point but was unable to comprehend it. I explained that the guard could give out sheets, speak to employees who are not meeting goals, or write them up. He could not understand the employees’ struggles, create an improvement plan and guide them to greater performance.

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Managers are key to the success of an organization. Managers must be able to identify potential growth areas and gaps for their direct reports. This skill is vital and comes from the desire to build up, rather than tear down. This mindset sees the possibilities and not seeks out punishments.

Growth is found where it’s at

John Wooden stated, “You shouldn’t judge yourself on how you did with your results. Organizations often focus too much on the top 20% and neglect middle and top performers. Managers must find and develop the untapped potential of each employee. This can be seen in improvement plans, stretch assignments, and the preparation of reports for promotion. This creates dynamism in the staff which leads to increased engagement and morale, as well as a reduction in attrition. Great things can happen when the mind shifts from fear to possibility.


Enlightened Execution’s guiding principle is that it is not about what you are, but what you can be. As the great sculptor, he saw something in the granite block and so it is with leaders who create a Culture for improvement. Without an educated leader, none of this would be possible. Soren Kierkegaard, the great question of the 19th century, said that you either are or you’re not. You either care about seeing the potential and identifying possibilities or you enjoy sharing in success. Although it is more challenging than being an administrator manager, the goal is greater growth, a satisfied workforce and a better community. You have the option to choose.

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