Get with the program: How to create greater employee mindfulness and alignment

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 01:34 pm

I had a client who owns a company and was frustrated because his talent often didn’t stop and think about the values and goals before making decisions.

When he noticed this lack of mindfulness, he would tend to react to these situations, frustrated he had to be the one to point out the cues they were missing and then give directions on what to do. When I asked him to articulate the ideal situation to me, he said, “I want to trust my employees are mindful of two things: 1) How to create an exceptional customer experience and 2) How to decrease waste and expenses.”

To help my client better align his employees to his company’s values and goals, I shared with him my five-step Gut Intelligence Goal Alignment Process. This process increases employee awareness, alignment and achievement to the values and goals by teaching them how to trust their gut to make effective decisions in the daily moments that matter.

Here is the five-step Gut Intelligence Goal Alignment Process:

  1. Identify what behavior you want changed and create a problem-solving question.
  2. Align your intention to a value and goal.
  3. Create an initiative and give it a name to make it real.
  4. Train employees on the skills needed to succeed.
  5. Benchmark, coach and recognize the behavior change you want with a monthly scorecard.

To begin this goal alignment process, we first shifted his mindset and behavior from micro-managing to one that proactively led his employees to the goal. His problem-solving statement was:

“How might we be more mindful of creating an exceptional customer experience AND decrease waste and expenses?”

Next, we looked at his strategic plan and chose one of the company’s values and goals that most closely related to his intention. The value “exceptional customer satisfaction” and goal to “decrease waste and expenses” worked well, along with an initiative we called Dare to Be Aware.

Now, it was time to establish an action plan to engage employees. The action plan included giving the managers and employees the skills they needed to succeed by offering three workshops: “Mindfulness Techniques,” “Effective Coaching Conversations,” and “How to Decrease Waste and Expenses.”

In our first workshop, Mindfulness Techniques, we ensured each department had a list of best practices to create an exceptional customer experience. This included how to answer the phone, inquire and listen to needs, fulfill requests, take orders, fulfill orders, collect money, overcome complaints and resolve concerns. To increase mindfulness, we then taught my S.T.O.P. Technique to help them be more present and aware so they could: Slow down, Tune in, Observe what was happening and Perceive the best solution. 

In our second workshop, Effective Coaching Conversations, managers learned how to use both praise and performance enhancement to more effectively align employees to their potential. They were taught to first praise what the employee is doing well with specific examples, before making suggestions for improvement. Employees were also taught how to respond in a manner that showed they were open-minded and collaborative in creating a new action plan for better goal alignment.

The final workshop, on How to Decrease Waste and Expenses, helped employees by increasing mindfulness on which expenses and waste were getting out of control. In addition, departments collaborated on ideas to create positive behavior change so the value and goal could be met.

Finally, to create accountability to the Dare to Be Aware initiative, we had managers use a monthly scorecard to rate employees from 1-10 on the four criteria below:

  1. Followed customer service best practices for their department.
  2. Used the S.T.O.P. technique to notice early cues of any customer dissatisfaction.
  3. Resolved quickly any discrepancies and dissatisfaction.
  4. Addressed their department’s list to decrease waste and expenses. 

The scorecards were used for managers to benchmark progress, recognize success and coach their employees on how they could be more mindful by creating an action for the agreed upon improvement.

With the five-step Gut Intelligence Goal Alignment Process, employees were now being mindful of how they could contribute to increasing customer satisfaction and decreasing expenses and waste. Not only was the value and goal being met, but the culture was now operating at a level of trust.

Challenge: How will you create greater mindfulness and goal alignment in your organization?

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Susan K. Wehrley is an executive coach and business consultant that aligns executives and businesses to their vision, values and goals. She is also a regular contributor to Forbes. You can email Susan at, (262) 696-6856 or visit her website for more details.