Greater Vancouver Making the EXCEPTIONAL Normal Part 3 - Employee Perspective

Author: Dale Furtwengler

How employees feel about the system

In my last article, I referred to a Winston Churchill quote to describe the feelings of power and vision you will experience when employing the Making the EXCEPTIONAL Normal system, but how are your employees going to feel about the system?

There is no more compelling insight I can offer than a recent experience. You may remember that one of my clients cut their billing cycle from 3 weeks to 2 days. A husband and wife team owns the business. The wife established the system for the administrative staff in their organization.

Six months after employing the system, she expressed a desire to spend more time with their children. The husband agreed and her involvement in the business ended. As you might expect, so did the weekly meetings.

A few months later the office manager was having difficulty answering some of my questions. Finally, in frustration, she said, "You know, Dale, since we stopped the weekly meetings things have been falling through the cracks for us. We don't have a good feel for what each other is doing. We're making assumptions about who is doing what and, consequently, we find ourselves scrambling to meet deadlines. Can you help us reinstate the weekly meetings?"

We polled the other employees and found that they all wanted to reestablish the weekly meetings. I was ELATED. The employees were getting as much value from the system as the managers were. Wait! It gets better.

As the meeting to reinstate the system was wrapping up, one of the employees said, "Dale, we are experiencing some problems in the field. We're seeing featherbedding on the jobs, our small tool expense is skyrocketing and we've had more mishaps in the last month than we did in the previous six. Could you help us devise some reports that will show the field people where the problems are? I believe that if we make them aware of these problems they, too, will begin to meet weekly."

WOW, I would never have thought the employees would like the system so well or see its value so clearly that they would want to spread it throughout the organization. That's exactly what was happening.

As I explored the reasons behind this very pleasant surprise, here's what I learned.

Big picture

For many employees the weekly meeting is the first time they have a chance to see how their work blends that of their colleagues to form a viable business operation. Their work takes on new meaning as they see its relevance to the company's success.

The shift from task orientation to big picture gives employees a sense of purpose. This sense of purpose forms the foundation for even greater success. That's the reason my clients' employees were looking beyond their own responsibilities for ways to make the company even more successful.


Another reason the employees enjoy the Making the EXCEPTIONAL Normal system is that it adds variety to their daily work. Remember that under this system you are reallocating the workload to assure that the important work is done first, not from an individual employee standpoint, but from a team perspective. This workload reallocation gives employees the opportunity to work on different tasks each week, which makes their jobs more interesting. It also helps you avoid one of the most insidious productivity thieves, boredom.

Boredom is the leading cause of productivity loss in our organizations. Doubt that? Simply think about any repetitive task that you have to do. What's your attitude when you approach the task? Are you able to accomplish the task quickly or does it seem to drag on endlessly? Now, you have a sense for how your employees feel when their jobs require them to do the same tasks week after week for years.

The remedy for boredom is simple and inexpensive. Let me rephrase that. The remedy for boredom, adding variety to your employees' daily routines, is simple and produces HUGE returns. The weekly meeting format provides an easy way to assure that you attend to the very real need your employees have for variety in their jobs.

New challenges

With variety come new challenges. At first, your employees may find these challenges a little frightening. Your job in the weekly meetings is to make sure that they don't set themselves up for failure. You should also let them know that you believe they have the ability to accomplish what needs to be done. Most employees will not disappoint you. Why? They don't want to disappoint someone who thinks highly of them.

As your employees successfully meet new challenges each week, their confidence grows.

Soon you'll find your employees becoming more aggressive in their goal setting and your company's growth accelerating at a pace faster than you imagined possible.


Variety and its attendant challenges create opportunities for your employees to learn. Learning provides its own natural high. If you doubt that, think of something that you recently learned. Did you look for ways to segue the new knowledge into conversations? Of course you did! You feel good about yourself when you learn new things and part of that joy is sharing what you learned with others. Your employees will experience the same high as each new week affords them another opportunity to learn.

Adding value

Finally, their participation in the weekly meetings lets your employees know that they are always working on what's most important to your company's success. Who among us wants our time and talents wasted on trivial tasks? Your employees are no different. They need to know that their work is valuable to your company. Give your employees a chance to make a difference and they will reward you with exceptional results.

Another example

Steven Dohner, a plumbing contractor in Dayton, Ohio, has been using the Making the EXCEPTIONAL Normal system for a year since attending a convention workshop on this topic. Mr. Dohner says, "Our new hires are amazed at how much we accomplish with so few people." How do you think his employees feel when they learn that the new hires are in awe of their accomplishments? Can you see them smiling? Are they walking taller? You bet they are.

Now imagine how those employees feel when comparing notes with your competitors' employees. Who's got bragging rights? Your employees, that's who. Isn't that what you want for yourself and your employees? How do you think that will affect your ability to hire top performers? It'll be easier, won't it? Do yourself AND your employees a favor; get those weekly meetings going.

Copyright 2000, Dale Furtwengler, all rights reserved

About the Author:

Dale Furtwengler is a professional speaker, internationally-acclaimed author and a business consultant who uses counter-intuitive thinking to help his clients increase profits without adding resources. For more information on how counter-intuitive thinking can work for you visit For business leaders who would like to get higher prices for their products and services visit

Article Source: - Making the EXCEPTIONAL Normal Part 3 - Employee Perspective

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