In this episode, I talk about the Right 12 Questions (a.k.a. Gallop’s Cue 12), a series of questions (some might be considered statements) that are asked/told from the vantage point of a team member, someone who reports to you or who works in your company.
- Do you know what is expected of you at work?
- Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?
- At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
- At work, do your opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
- Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
- Do you have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
- In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?
These days, companies are offering more money, more flexibility, and more of a lot of things in order to source people to work for them. Over and above whatever else a company offers, one of the most compelling reasons people join, stay, or leave a company is because they like the environment, who they’re working for, who they’re working with, and who they’re working with like feeling important. We’re talking about employees not feeling like numbers.
Full transcript below.
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work, number, opinion, company, people, questions, quality, talk, leaders, give, mission, opportunity, praise, part, important, employee, intentional, challenge, stay, create
Mike Malatesta 00:05
Hey, everybody, thank you for joining me for another solo Friday episode of the How’d It Happen Podcast. I’m so happy to have you here. And I’m excited today because I’m going to talk to you about the right questions. And this is a list of questions that Gallup, the sort of internet international polling organization, has put together, they call it the Right 12 questions, or Gallop’s Cue 12. It’s a series of questions that, as entrepreneurs and as leaders, and maybe even just, you know, leaders of any kind, managers or whatever, it’s a list of questions that are spoken from the vantage point of someone for whom you’re responsible, like a direct report, someone you’re supervising. It’s, you know, basically someone that works for your company, but not in the same leadership role as you, I was about to say, not in leadership, but that’s not true. Because as you make your way up, you know, almost all the leaders in the organization are going to need to answer these questions, as well.
I usually stay away from stuff like this, but I was inspired to do this, because right now, we’re facing a very dramatic challenge finding and keeping team members or employees. There’s a lot of reasons, I guess. You know, there are financial reasons, but you know, companies are offering more money to people; it’s kind of weird, what shortages? Do they do what they’re supposed to do, right? So people offer more money to get what they want, companies offer more money to get what they want. They offer more flexibility, you know, so remote working and distributed workforces, that kind of thing are having a big impact, being able to source people internationally, or from wherever to work for your company, what a game changer. Used to be, you know, most companies were restricted sort of, or felt like they were restricted to a certain number of miles from where their office was, because everyone was expected to come to an office, and, you know, your talent pool was small. Now, you know, for a lot of positions, certainly not all positions, but for a lot of positions, it’s much bigger, but you know, the convergence of all of those challenges, you know, remote work, distributed workforce, there’s global competition for work, and money has made it hard. The point is that, even though there are a lot of reasons why people leave or stay at a job, one of the most compelling reasons, and one of the most important reasons that people stay is because they like the environment, they like who they’re working for, they like who they’re working with, and they like feeling important. You hear this a lot like, you know, I don’t want to be a number, right? I don’t want to feel like I’m a number. In fact, I was just at a plant for a company the other day, just doing a tour. And we were talking about culture, and people not feeling like numbers. And this actually kind of gave me this idea. And then on this board, where you had to sign up for voluntary overtime. This was on the manufacturing floor. The columns on the board were your name, and then your employee number. I just thought that was weird. Because it’s sort of, you know, you’re not a number, but in this case, you are, you are a number. And of course, in every company, almost every company, people have an employee number of some sort, for payroll or whatever, but it was just weird to kind of see it now. But it’s germane because, you know, part of these 12 questions is certainly this whole thing about do I feel like a number or do I not?
So I’m just gonna go through the questions. I might say a little bit about each but just something to think about. It’s powerful stuff. It’s controllable stuff. It’s complete. Really, it’s like an intentional thing. You can intentionally do this and be responsive to these things. Or you can intentionally not, you can ignore them and don’t think that they’re important, but you do so at your own peril. And as I read through these, I thought to myself, how many of these was I good at? How many of these have I been good at? How many of these have I not been good at? Or certainly could have been better at, which is probably all of them. But here we go.
So, here are the right 12 questions, according to Gallup, these are the key 12 questions. And they aren’t really questions. They’re statements, of course.
I know what is expected of me at work. Super important. Most people don’t like winging it. They like to know what’s expected of them. They like to know there’s a system, they want it. They want a system around their work, not everybody. Not everybody. But most people want that. And so you, you need to provide it. You need to let them know what does a good job and what is a job that we’re going to be talking about as not being so good.
Second, I have the materials and equipment I knew I need to do my work, right? This is a good one. Because how many times have you been in a situation where you’re not provided with what you need? You’re not allowed to you talk about it, but nothing seems to happen in terms of getting you what you need. Or you think as the owner/leader that you know better than what the people doing that particular part of the work? No, in order that you know about doing their job and having the right equipment. And there’s a lot of work. It’s like I would get into this all the time, like, oh, I never needed that when I was doing that job, you know. So it’s sort of like, you’re kind of creating a class system of people, but things change. And it’s a very important question, very important. Feedback to listen to, and to make people feel like I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work.
Number three at work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. I don’t know that that’s going to be a question that people can answer affirmatively every day, but the more days that they can answer that affirmatively, the better chance you are of keeping that person and then staying happy and promoting your business and their role in it consistently.
Number four, in the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing work. Praise is free. I’ve talked about that. Many times. Praise is abundant, and free. It’s also easy to make scarce and costly. So easy choice there. You see someone doing something, you give them praise for it. And the more specific the better.
Number five, my supervisor or someone at work seems to care about me as a person. The last solo episode I did was about this sort of connection process, a nine-step connection process using a house as a sort of a Metaverse example of creating a system of working through this house, a nine-step process. It’s designed exactly to get to know people. Getting to know people is completely intentional, right, you either choose to do it or you choose not to do it. If you choose to do it, you are going to create trust in your organization, you’re going to create connection, and you’re going to create an environment that someone wants to stay in.
Number six, there is someone at work who encourages my development. Similar to number five, where you give praise, it encourages development. It means that you’ve got someone’s back, you want to see them succeed. And you want to see them succeed at a level that’s higher than where they are now or where they thought they might ever be able to succeed. And you want to encourage that and support it.
Number seven at work, my opinions seem to count. This is a tricky one because there’s a difference between every opinion mattering and every one counting. So having an environment where people feel free to express their opinions, with the understanding that you may or may not agree with the opinion, is healthy. And as long as people feel like they are listened to, and every so often they are going to have an opinion that makes sense. And you should act on it, more than likely. There’s a big difference between asking for opinions and then never not only using the opinion, but never explaining to someone why their opinion was or wasn’t used. So it’s tricky. It’s a tricky thing. I’m not trying to say that you should take everybody’s opinion and run with it so that everybody feels good, because that definitely won’t work. But, knowing that my opinion counts, meaning that it’s considered, is usually enough for everyone, especially if their opinion isn’t the isn’t the path you choose. They understand why, they may not agree with it, but they understand why.
Number eight, the mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important. In my opinion, very few people want to show up for a job just to show up. There are some, I think, there are a few, but I think that initially, when someone first joins your organization, there are very few. There becomes more when people either don’t align with the mission where they thought they might, but they end up not aligning with the mission, or the mission is kind of phony. So you sign up for a mission. It’s great, sounds great in the interview process, looks great on the website, but inside the business, that mission isn’t really the mission, something’s getting in the way of the mission, or the mission is, you know, more of a marketing thing than it is a real life thing. So that’s number eight.
Number nine, my associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work. This is a big one, because I know in my experience as a leader, I’m like the last one to know that someone isn’t doing quality work. Now, you can if they’re responsible for manufacturing a particular piece of equipment or parts, it’s kind of easy to know whether they are or not. But when you get into more of the subtleties of other types of work, people can become very good at pretending they’re doing quality work. Or relying on other people to do their quality work for them. without you being aware of it. It’s always the people below you that know first when someone is not working out. And the last thing people want to be around, even if they liked the person, is someone who’s dragging down the work. But when they see that, nothing happens, there’s no consequence to doing that. Oftentimes, they’re sort of, I don’t know, they feel like maybe the quality of their work doesn’t need to be as high, why does it matter, that kind of thing. So, that gets back to the expectations, you have to have great expectations and meet them, so that everyone knows that quality work is necessary, and that everyone knows that, hey, we’re all doing quality work. So you don’t have that problem with being around people who aren’t doing quality work. Everyone’s committed to quality work.
Number 10, I have a best friend at work. That’s a big one. You know, it’s hard to make friends at work like real friends. And it’s hard to make real friends anywhere. But it does seem like there’s always that one connection and particularly if it’s you know, a connection between two people who love to do quality work and enjoy the mission and now have opinions that matter or count and, you know, do all these other things, right? Not only does their friendship keep them aligned with the company, but it also creates amazing examples for people coming into the business, and it’s really important. I mean, you don’t have to be super-duper friends with many people, but if you have a best friend at work, it kind of changes the game to your benefit.
Number 11, In the last six months someone at work has talked to me about my progress. Okay, so whether you call these performance reviews, whether you call them, you know, huddles or whatever, if you’re not talking to your people about their progress on a regular basis, you are missing a huge opportunity. And I know it is difficult to make the time to do this. Especially when you don’t really make it. What I mean by that, I’ve been through this so many times; we have reviews, or evaluations or huddle data that’s due. Let’s just say it’s every six months, like it says here. And rather than getting that scheduled, getting all the people scheduled that you need to talk to, you instead wait for an opportunity for it to “happen.” And it doesn’t, and then you come down to the last week and you’re rushing through this, and people know it, they know that you’re rushing through, they know that you’re only doing it because you have to do it. And they know that you have not given it the time that it deserves to give them proper feedback about their progress and their work. So it’s as simple as that; another intentional thing — you either intentionally do it, or you intentially don’t do it, or you intentionally don’t do it very well. Simple to fix. Just be intentional; do it well.
Number 12, This last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow at work. Just like people not wanting to do quality work, or people who don’t care about the mission — I think those are very, very few people, at least initially – they’re the ones that poison the well. So very few come in, ready to poison our well. We bring them in, and then we poison our own well by not doing the things that we need to do or doing the things that we said we would do. And giving people opportunities to learn and grow, like every human being wants to learn and grow, it’s just a fundamental part of who we are. Now, some of us may not ask for opportunities to learn and grow. And normally the ones that ask, get it, like squeaky wheel gets the grease kind of thing. But that’s up to us, as leaders, you know, we have to encourage people to stretch themselves, we have to encourage them to learn to challenge and grow. without the fear of that challenge, resulting in a failure of some point, it may result in another learning opportunity, but not a failure. I sound like a broken record here. But completely intentional on our part. Are we challenging people to grow? And giving them the freedom to do it, but also the safety to do it? Or is it sort of our gut reaction to do after someone says they’re gonna leave? Oh, don’t leave, we can give you this opportunity or that opportunity. Stay on top of it.
So yeah, those are the 12 the right questions or the right statements. I got a lot out of that, and it rang really true with my own experience. As I mentioned at the beginning, we’re in an environment of convergence of a lot of different things that make it very, very difficult to attract and keep people and, you know, you may not keep everyone by doing a great job with these 12 questions, but it feels like to me, and my experience tells me, that you will keep a lot more and you will attract a lot more if you can live up to or live these questions. If people can go through these 12 questions and feel good about the answers to them all, boy, that’s got to be powerful stuff.
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