Monthly Musings

May 2010


Jim Harter
Sigma Pi Consulting, LLC

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Volume 1 Number 4



Seven E's To Better Employee Performance

> Get an Annual Physical for Your Business


Seven E's To Better Employee Performance

Some of my best ideas for articles come in the context of talking business with another person in a relaxed environment.  That is exactly what happened to spur this article.  I was sharing a beer with a friend at Entrepreneurial Thursdays where we were talking about people in the work place. 

Some employees are "actively working for the company".  Some are "actively working against the company".  And in the average company, over half of the staff "just show up".  We were discussing what can be done to foster the first group and how to move the latter two types of employees into the coveted "actively working for the company" category. 

It was a spirited discussion.  My friend felt that the "working against" people had passion and if re-inspired, they could be moved to "working for".  I stated that deep in the heart of every human being there is a desire for significance and that they are looking for a reason to get involved.  We agreed that there were people in both groups that would require an awful lot of work to make any impact.  Some in the "working against" group are so damaged that they are poison to the organization and must be cut loose.  Some in the "show up" group are so spoiled by our entitlement society that they are not willing to put forth any unnecessary effort.  But we did agree that maximizing the "actively working for" group is the pathway to a successful business. 

He asked me if I had heard of the Four E's that he had read about to motivate employees.  He gave me the first one and then asked me what I thought the others were.  My next E wasn't in the list but we decided that it should have been.  In the end, we came up with our own list of 5 E's that he thought was better than those in the article.  As I was writing this, I added two more.  Here is what we came up with:

Engage - by definition, the folks in the "just show up" group aren't engaged.  You have to get each employee feeling like they are part of the team and that success only happens when everyone contributes.  You have to overcome the dreaded "cog in the wheel" mentality.

Educate - each staff person has to have the requisite skills for that job and training for the processes to follow in performing their job.  While you are at it cross train them and develop them for their next promotion.  Beyond that someone has to show them what a good job looks like.  You also have to teach them how they will be judged on the outcome.  (Remember my 2nd cardinal rule of business: "What gets measured gets done.")

Empower - in addition to setting expectation levels for the delivery, you have to give each person the resources to accomplish them.  These are both the appropriate tools but also access to other necessary people and materials with the authority to mobilize them.

Eliminate - get rid of all of the "trash" in the job.  That is, reduce excess paper work.  Kill the office politics.  Streamline procedures.  Remove any other impediments that make the work harder than it has to be.

Energize - management must provide energy and demonstrate enthusiasm.  We have to model it if we want to see it.  You also must demonstrate your willingness to put in the effort that you expect from your staff.

Enlighten - management must provide the vision for the future. That vision must capture the aspirations of the company and its motivations.  You also must show the positive outcomes for the employee.  You should also get them involved in ways that they can contribute to achieve those goals.

Enrich - share the wealth.  That is, create a profit based incentive plan that rewards those who contribute to the success of the company.  By the way, any incentive plan that is not based on increased profit is a gift.  But we need to go beyond money.  Look for ways to enrich their jobs.  If you implement the first six E's, you will have gone a long way toward fulfilling the step of job enrichment.

What do you think?  Are there any other E's that you would add?  Let me know at

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Get an Annual Physical for Your Company

Every year you go to your doctor for a physical examination.  He takes all kinds of measurements, explores every nook and cranny of your body, and gets some blood work done.  This is to catch any potentially harmful maladies before they become impactful (if not fatal). 

When was the last time you had an expert look at the health of your business?

It is a lot easier to fix problems in your business if they are caught early.  The later you identify a problem the harder (and more expensive) it is to fix them.  If you don't address your problems soon enough, you could be looking at your bank calling your loans which may be too late to fix them.

Call Sigma Pi Consulting for a thorough review of your business.  For $500, we will do a complete examination over a two day period and present a report that identifies strengths and weakness in your operation and prescribes solutions to correct any shortfalls. 

To schedule a business audit, contact us at

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I am always interested in your feedback.  Please email me at

Sigma Pi Consulting, LLC
1248 Rolling Meadow Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Phone: 412-576-2685
Fax: 954-206-1184

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