A Most Revealing Engagement Question: What are you paid for?

One very simple way to determine if a person is engaged is to ask them; “What are you paid for?”

Most people either do not know the answer, or they answer with a functional description of their job, i.e. “to serve food,” or “to give you great service.”  At one customer-centric hotel brand the answer was; “Three results, you are very satisfied, you will return here or to one of our other locations, and you recommend us to your colleagues.”

If you are a manager and your team members know the answer to this question, you can ensure each person has mastered the skills, knowledge, and abilities [SKAs] needed to implement the processes, use the technology, and manifest the behaviors needed to create guest experiences that get guests to return and recommend the hotel to their colleagues. And the results can be measured.  Once measured the team members can be involved with and own how to improve their SKAs, processes, technology, and behaviors to improve retention, frequency, and new guests from recommendations.  Team members will be engaged.  Each team member will have in their immediate consciousness the question; “What can I do with this guest to ensure they return here, go to one of our other locations, and recommend us to their colleagues?”

If you consider yourself a leader, in addition to being a manager, and your team members know the answer to “what they are paid for,” you can lead and inspire them to achieve these three results for the guest.  Both you and your team members will be engaged in accomplishing common inspirational results, and guests will have very strong, positive emotions, about your Brand.  They will be bonded to the Brand.  They will be engaged guests, loyal to the Brand, faithful to the Brand because of the experiences they have, created by team members who know getting them to return and recommend the Brand to colleagues is what they are paid to accomplish.  Your team members are a team precisely because they have unified beliefs, thinking and results, which enables them to work together for the desired guest experience.

However, if as a leader and a manager, you and your team members DO NOT KNOW what they are paid for it is impossible to manage getting the desired results, communicating, and inspiring people because not one of the team members will be sure why you want things done in certain ways, what your communications mean, or why you talk about what you talk about.

So begin to ask team members, everywhere you spend money, “What are you paid for?” and you will be amazed at the answers you receive.  It will help you understand what you need to stop, start, keep, change and improve in your beliefs, thinking, and behaviors to become a more engaged, inspired, and inspiring manager and leader.

Disney’s, The Masters of Engagement and Inspiration, answer to: “What are you paid for?”

Walt Disney understood the essence of engagement was accomplished by ensuring team members and guests experienced memorable magic moments making them feel happy, comfortable, like they belonged, pleasure, inspiration, and joy.  From the beginning he wanted to create “The happiest place in the world.”  Walt Disney also wanted Disney to be a “source of joy and inspiration to the world” and it continues to be both.

Around 1940, Walt Disney said each of the cast members are paid; “To do what I do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”  They are paid to create encore experiences for one another and for guests.  One of his geniuses was to transform ordinary jobs into parts in a play.  To manage every process and technology, and to lead people to think, believe, and behave, while implementing the processes and reflecting their personalities in their behaviors, toward “doing what we do so well they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”

Walt was a master at engagement.  Disney team members, individually and collectively, have unified believing, thinking, and behaving. They measure what they manage, and manage what they measure.  They have focus and concentration.  Disney is the quintessential example proving individuals and their Brand can lead, manage, measure and inspire the engagement of team members and guests.  The results, since Sunday, July 17, 1955 are: new guests, the retention and frequency of existing guests, the profit and growth of the Brand, and the happiest place in the world.  If he can do it for so long there is hope for the rest of us.

Before reading further, ask and answer the following questions;

  • What am I paid for?
  • What percentage of our team members know what they are paid for?
  • What percentage of our team members are fully engaged, right now?
  • [If appropriate] What percentage of our Channel Partners and Franchisees are fully engaged, right now?
  • What percentage of our customers is fully engaged, right now?
  • How many of our customers are true believers in us, that we and only we can give them the kind of experience they expect, want, and need?
  • What precisely do we need to do to double that number?
  • Do I, and the team, know what results I am managing to achieve?
  • Do we measure what we manage?
  • Do the team members know where I am leading them?
  • How many customers, NOT transactions, does it take to produce your past 12 months previous sales?
  • What would your sales be if each customer came in and purchased once more over the past 12 months?
  • If I could only have two financial metrics to determine the health of my Brand, what would they be?

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