Working on the west coast, the game was in the morning. My boss' suggestion was to stay home, watch the game and come in as soon as it was over. His only other request? Call in with a halftime score. How motivated and productive was I when I came to work that day, and for the rest of the week?
Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) March 13, 2007
Is the office NCAA pool up-and-running with employees focused a little too much on the brackets and little too less on their job responsibilities?
Management consultant Kevin Eikenberry says this change of focus can lead to significant losses of productivity, but there is still hope for organizations throughout the tournament and beyond.
"As leaders we can't remove the distractions -- the events will still occur," Eikenberry says. "Our job instead is to do what we can to recognize and take advantage of the situation however we can."
Eikenberry suggests using the GAME approach to increase productivity and morale.
G -- Gauge the real level of interest.
A -- Acknowledge the potential distraction.
M -- Motivate employees by maintaining high expectations through this time.
E -- Enjoy the opportunity to connect with your employees.
Gauge the Real Level of Interest. Don't assume that everyone is interested or distracted. Taking a "the-sky-is-falling" approach will surely overstate the situation. Are some people talking about the NCAA tournament brackets? Of course they are. But some people could care less about basketball. When you realize that it might not be everyone, it will put your mind at ease just a bit.
Acknowledge the Potential Distraction. Share your concerns with your staff. Let them know that you know the big game is exciting and while you want them to enjoy it and talk about it, that you are concerned about productivity. Tell people it is natural and fine to be excited and that you hope some of that excitement can "rub off" onto the work.
Motivate employees by maintaining high expectations through this time. Consider mentioning and acknowledging the distraction and then refocusing attention on an immediate goal. If people have a short-term, highly-motivating goal or another important task to work on; their focus will be gently shifted away from a complete focus on the hype of the games. Putting that goal or challenge in front of them can be an extremely motivating thing to do. Tie goal achievement to some down town for the big game and possibly generate even more focus. For example: If we get this shipment out by noon, anyone who wants can take a long lunch to watch the games. Of course -- if people aren't interested in the games, they can take a long lunch too if they choose or possibly leave a little early at the end of the day.
Enjoy the opportunity to connect with your employees. If you are a fan too, use this as a way to connect with your team (your work team that is). Have a pre-game celebration. If the games are on during the week, put a TV on showing the games during lunch. Be involved in any of the other activities surrounding the event. As a leader this may be an outstanding opportunity for you to build rapport and trust within your organization and deepen relationships with your employees.
"As a young professional, my boss suggested I literally stay away from work to watch my beloved Purdue Boilermakers in a first-round NCAA Tournament Game," Eikenberry says.
"Working on the west coast, the game was in the morning. My boss' suggestion was to stay home, watch the game and come in as soon as it was over. His only other request? Call in with a halftime score. How motivated and productive was I when I came to work that day, and for the rest of the week?"
Use the GAME approach in times of distractions and you will be leading more proactively. At the same time you will be maintaining or growing productivity and team morale.
Kevin Eikenberry is the best-selling author of Vantagepoints on Learning and Life and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services.