Useful tip

The Top Ten Signs Your Employee Attitude Survey Needs to Change

This is a useful short video interview with Curt Coffman (co-author of First Break All The Rules) in which he gives ten thoughts and ideas about why your employee survey needs some attention. I particularly like tip #1 where Coffman talks about surveying the same things the same way over and over and yet expecting something different. I’m also a fan of tip #9, which makes the point that if you need to ask your employees 50 questions about how they are feeling, just how far removed, disengaged have you, the surveyer become? It’s a bit too brief in parts, but had I known about this sooner, I would have shown it to a few board directors before the ensuing battles about attitude and engagement surveys.

Click the link, enjoy the vid, and pop back and tell us what you think. Are these tips any good? Got any better ones?

Doug Shaw

The Science of Motivation

So the recession is over eh? Well according to some indicators we are entering a new phase. And I wonder, what are businesses going to do with the workforce that remains? Leaders should be asked:

How are you going to motivate your people?

How are you going to get them to give the discretionary effort that’s so vital in delivering a great customer experience?

How are you going to get your people to trust you, and each other?

This feels like a rare opportunity to do something different, to apply some science to motivation. How? Well for a start, instead of returning to the tired old method of incentives (and let’s face it if we’ve learned only one thing from the banking crisis it’s that incentives drive value destroying behaviour), why don’t we try some new approaches? How about some autonomy, mastery and purpose? Here’s a link to a great talk given by Dan Pink on the science of motivation. I suggest you go get a cup of tea, and take 18 minutes to watch, listen, and then do.

Dan Pink – The Science of Motivation

Have a great day

Doug Shaw

What’s in a sentence?

I really liked the advice “pokemon” cards that Execellence gave away at their recent event. One or two sentences of advice and inspiration can sometimes be much more effective than long, detailed reports.

In the Spring of 2009 I contacted a whole bunch of people and asked them what employee engagement means to them, and to advise us how to improve employee engagement. The advice had to be personal, real. And it had to be just one sentence. The replies came in from all over the globe. From the shop floor to the board room. Here are a few tasters for you:

“When you can get an answer to a question without it being riddled with propaganda.”

“I feel that even where I don’t have control over what needs to change, I have ownership of how we change it.”

“Engagement means I am committed to the companies’ goals, and the company is committed to helping me achieve mine.”

I’ve put them together in a four page report. Click the link, download the report. Have a read at your leisure and if you want to, feel free to add your own contribution. Why not cope the Execellence team and try your own one sentence experiment?

Doug Shaw


A couple of days ago I posted about how Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Chris Boardman encouraged us to think differently, and I left you with a question. How many ‘f’s are there in the following sentence?


I got a few replies. Some people saw four, others six.

FF2I thought there were six too, how clever I felt….for a few seconds.


As you can see, there are in fact 20 ‘f’s. 14 of them are hidden behind the ‘e’s. It wasn’t Boardman who spotted this, it was a colleague of his. Someone who up to that point had featured very little in Boardman’s thinking. At a stroke, this example of seeing and thinking differently changed Boardman’s perpective. He was beginning the journey from solo selfish focussed sporting superstar, to a visionary, exciting team leader. And we all know the powerful effect that team had at the Beijing Olympics.

Ok so this was a fun look at a serious business. Next time I’ll get stuck into some more different thinking and some essentials for high performing teams. Have a great weekend and thanks for playing.

Doug Shaw

Gold Medal High Performance

I was recently invited to meet Chris Boardman. He was in London to talk with a few of us about how he made the transition from a totally focused individual gold medal winner at the Barcelona Olympics, to the role of R&D team leader for the GB cycling team that swept the board at the Beijing Olympics last year.

It was a fascinating morning. I had gone along to meet a sporting hero of mine and left with a head buzzing full of new ideas. I met up with Nish a few days later and offered to share some of the learning. So here’s the first thing I learned that made me buzz that day: Think Differently.

Chris flashed the following words up on the screen and asked us to count the number of ‘f’s in the sentence.


Now I confess I’d seen this before, a long time ago. I also like to think that I’m a careful reader. So, I read the sentence carefully and thought I’d clocked them all. I was wrong. So how many ‘f’s are there? I’ll be back soon when you’ve worked it out. Enjoy.

Doug Shaw

Wisdom of change

The slideshow (above) shows just some of the ‘top tips’ we received from members of our Change Directors Forum.  We used 10 quotes to create giveaway cards for our event on 25 June (Emily Landis Walker speaking on “Engaging People in Change: leading through uncertainty“).  I used to print the cards – a really great site for creative, value for money printing…

We asked event attendees:“If you could give one piece of advice to fellow Change Directors on managing organisational change, what would it be?”


the resource for Change Directors