The two part formula for flextime

According to Gallup, the ideal outcome of flexible work is two parts.

  1. Autonomy
  2. Accountability

This aligns with knowing your people’s StrengthsFinder strengths. Using our strengths to get the work done is an extremely personal process. No one can chart that course for us, because no one really knows what it’s like to be us. Great managers define the end zone, but not the path to get there.

And accountability is easy if we’re using our strengths. We get things done faster and more efficiently if we’re using our strengths. 

If you’re a leader experiment with increased autonomy and increased demand for accountability.

And if you’re a worker hoping for more autonomy, you first need to demonstrate that you’re accountable. Then ask for more autonomy.


(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Why is flextime so important?

Why is flextime so important?

According to Gallup, it’s because people deeply crave freedom. They want to be in control of their own lives. 

This lines up nicely with happiness and depression research. Lawyers (especially first and second year lawyers) and ER nurses are the unhappiest workers. What’s the connection with these two occupations? Their work is high stress, low choice. 

We crave choices (but not too many choices). And we sometimes don’t notice the door of the cage is open. Psychologists call this ‘learned helplessness’. If flextime is important to you, grade yourself on how well you identify and enjoy your current level of flextime. For example, lunch is built-in flextime. How free are your lunches?


(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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What percent of companies offer some form of flextime?

Only 44%.

Is flextime important? Along with listing at as the most valued employee benefit, Gallup says that:

  • Employees would trade some of their salary for flextime.
  • 63% of millennials would change jobs for flextime.
  • 53% of all employees say work-life balance and wellbeing is ‘very important’ when considering whether to take a job

I know I would – and do – trade money for flextime. I work for myself so flextime is easier to negotiate. And adding up all my working years I’ve probably passed up on multiple millions of dollars for flextime – that’s how important it is to me. 

If you don’t offer your people flextime, you’d better start or they’ll find somewhere that does.

And if you’re making a good salary but are still not as happy as you want to be, try negotiating to increase your flextime. At the very least take all those personal days that are piling up.


(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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How are businesses doing with the Gallup engagement Q12? Here’s the data.

The Gallup engagement Q12 survey has been around for over twenty years now. It’s great stuff and I use it often in both strengths training and management and leadership training. It’s been rigorously tested and it’s the way to go for any company that is looking to measure and increase engagement.

But what’s it like in the trenches? Has the dial moved? Are workers now more able to agree that each question is true for them, leading them to greater engagement?

Here’s the percent of global employees that strongly agree that each of the Gallup Q12 engagement questions are actually happening for them. First you’ll see the statement, then the percentage of workers that are able to say, “yes, that’s true for me.” 

Remember, it’s sequential. #1 is the building block for #2 and on and on all the way up to #11 is the building block for #12. 

How engaged are we?

1. Do you know what is expected of you at work?

One in two global employees strongly agree. 


2. Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?

One in three global employees strongly agree. 


3. At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?

One in three global employees strongly agree. 


4. In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good
work?

One in four global employees strongly agree. 


5. Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?

Four in ten global employees strongly agree. 


6. Is there someone at work who encourages your development?

Three in ten global employees strongly agree. 


7. At work, do your opinions seem to count?

One in four global employees strongly agree. 


8. Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?

One in three global employees strongly agree. 


9. Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?

One in three global employees strongly agree. 


10. Do you have a best friend at work?

Three in ten global employees strongly agree. 


11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?

One in three global employees strongly agree. 


12. In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

One in three global employees strongly agree. 

The highest score was 40% for ‘someone at work cares about me as a person’. That’s great, except a 40 is still a failing grade.

The lowest score was 25% for ‘in the last seven days someone has recognized my good work’. Sigh.

There’s work to be done – by all of us, no matter the role. Many of these questions can be helped by co-workers caring about each other and recognizing good work, regardless of the role.

But this should especially put people in management and leadership positions on notice. 25-40% is not going to cut it. 

If you want more from your people, you need to give them more. In this case, more doesn’t mean more money or a better job title. 

There’s work to be done.


(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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What’s the one thing that blocks the Gallup Path?

According to Gallup, “everything else on The Gallup Path shuts down if an employee has a bad boss.”

Great managers inspire. Companies can be horrible, but if a manager is great, an employee will stick around. But the greatest company in the world will hemorrhage talent if there are bad bosses. People leave managers, they don’t leave companies. Want engaged employees and want them to stick around? The key is the manager.


(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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It all starts with strengths

According to Gallup, the path to stock increases, revenue growth, increased sales, most anything a company wants, is through identifying strengths.

Whatever you want for your company, your business unit, your team, your personal success all leads back to strengths – identifying strengths and then using strengths every day.

It all starts with strengths.


(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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The Gallup Path

Gallup recently put together a nine-step process that they call “the most advanced meta-analytics ever on the subject of behavioral economics.” They analyzed 300,000 business units around the world and this is what the data revealed.

Here’s an easy way to use it. Find what you want to happen. Then look at what leads to it. Increase that and it increases what you want to happen. 

For example, if you want a stock increase, focus on real profit increase. Want real profit increase? Focus on sustainable growth. Want sustainable growth? Focus on engaged customers. Want engaged customers? You need engaged employees. Wish you had engaged employees? Put great managers in charge. Want great managers? Make sure you have the right fit in roles. Want the right fit? Identify strengths (StrengthsFinder helps you identify your strengths).

Here are some notes on the nine steps.

  • Profit increase predicts share increase 80% of the time.
  • Real sales growth (i.e. not acquisitions but actual sales) predicts profit increase about 80% of the time.
  • It’s customer engagement, not satisfaction. Satisfied customers don’t buy more, they’re satisfied. But engaged customers do. They buy more frequently, spend more per transaction and pay a higher margin.
  • Customer engagement comes from high trust in the organization. 
  • The most powerful energy comes from the cross-section of engaged customers and engaged employees. If businesses score above the median in both employee and customer engagement they are 3.4 times in better shape financially than units that scored below the median.
  • Lastly, it all starts with strengths.

(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Thirty Nonfiction Book recommendations for 2020

As I wrote last time, reading is amazing! What a gift to be able to deeply enter a world so simply and cheaply. These are books that are relatively new to me or I consistently refer to them. Or they have made the cut repeatedly when culling my book collection (some were published almost thirty years ago). They are not ‘new for 2020’, but if you haven’t read them, they will be new for you.

I bolded six that I refer to the most or have helped me the most. They are in order of recommendation. Start there. The rest are in no particular order. If you’re looking for something specific to your situation send me an email and I’ll steer you.

  1. Behave Robert Sapolsky
  2. In Love With the World Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  3. Authentic Happiness Martin Seligman
  4. Brain Rules John Medina
  5. Eat Move Sleep Tom Rath
  6. Culture Code Dan Coyle
  7. The Exceptional Presenter Tim Koegel
  8. StrengthsFinder 2.0 Tom Rath
  9. First, Break All the Rules Marcus Buckingham
  10. Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman
  11. Grit Angela Duckworth
  12. Mindset Carol Dweck
  13. Willpower Roy Baumeister
  14. Talent Code Dan Coyle
  15. The Paradox of Choice Barry Schwartz
  16. A Whole New Mind Dan Pink
  17. To Sell is Human Dan Pink
  18. Think Like Your Customer Bill Stinnett
  19. Insight Tasha Eurich
  20. The Power of Full Engagement Jim Loehr
  21. Why We Sleep Matthew Walker
  22. A Beautiful Constraint Adam Morgan
  23. Presentation Zen 
  24. Emotions Revealed Paul Ekman
  25. The Leap (on trust) Ulrich Boser
  26. Deep Work Cal Newport
  27. Making Habits, Breaking Habits Jeremy Dean
  28. Lifelong Kindergarten Mitchel Resnick
  29. The Progress Principle Teresa Amabile
  30. Daily Rituals – How Artists Work Mason Currey

(Many of these authors have TED talks on their book topics if you’re not ready to take the ‘book plunge’.)

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Top 6 Nonfiction Book recommendations for 2020

Reading is amazing! What a gift to be able to deeply enter a world so simply and cheaply. These are books that are relatively new to me or I consistently refer to them. Or they have made the cut repeatedly when culling my book collection (some were published almost thirty years ago). They are not ‘new for 2020’, but if you haven’t read them, they will be new for you.

Here are the top six that I refer to the most or have helped me the most. They are in order of recommendation. 

  1. Behave Robert Sapolsky
  2. In Love With the World Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  3. Authentic Happiness Martin Seligman
  4. Brain Rules John Medina
  5. Eat Move Sleep Tom Rath
  6. Culture Code Dan Coyle

Stay tuned for the rest of the list!

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What perk do employees value most?

What perk do employees value most relating to their engagement and wellbeing?

Here are some possible choices:

  1. Health Insurance
  2. Vacation/Paid Time Off
  3. Performance Bonuses
  4. Paid Sick Days
  5. 401(k), Retirement Plan and/or Pension
  6. Flexible Schedule
  7. Employee Development Programs
  8. Tuition Reimbursement
  9. Employee Discounts
  10. Gym Membership or Wellness Programs
  11. Stock Options and/or Equity
  12. A Diversity Program

According to Gallup, the #1 perk is….a flexible schedule, aka ‘flextime’.

If you can’t give your people a raise but want to give them something, now you know – give them flextime.


(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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