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Human Resources Coaching Tip - What's in Your Fuel?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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In the construction industry almost everything runs on some sort of fuel, gasoline, diesel, steam or caloric. Without fuel, roads would not be built, buildings would stay only as dreams on some architect's drawing board and people would not be able to operate all those machines necessary to build roads and buildings. Fuel is the power that drives construction today just like it did centuries ago.

So what is in your fuel? I am not talking about gasoline, diesel, steam, electricity or even calories. No, what I am talking about is what is fueling your people, day in and day out to do the very best that they can do?

Recently, I came across a book with an accompanying DVD entitled 212 Degrees. This book is authored by Mac Anderson who created Successories.

Anderson asks the question: “Do you know what happens to water at 212 degrees?" It boils and boiling water releases steam. Steam is a fuel that powers turbines. He then explores what would happen if individuals would turn up their potential by 1 or 2 degrees to reach 212 degrees?

The only problem with this question is that most people are not at 210 or 211 degrees. Rather, the majority of people including the hard working employees in any organization are operating at somewhere between 35 degrees to 80 degrees given the research about employee engagement.

Einstein recognized the impact of potential. In his later years after discovering the foundation for nuclear energy to black holes, Einstein believed that he had only tapped into 10% of his potential. I do not know about you, but this may indicate that many of us are operating in negative double digits, myself included. Research suggests that most individuals only use 25% of their potential.

If many people are failing to realize their potential, could it be something to do with their fuel? Maybe, they are lacking the right additives that will take them from where they are to where they want to go?

So what additives would get people closer to their potential of 212 degrees? I believe that there are essentially 4 capacities or additives that people need to acknowledge, learn and then do. The Human Resources Department is just the place to fill up on these additives.

The first additive is purpose. This is the why we are here. Recently, a mentor shared an incredible true story about purpose.

He asked Do you know what happened in Munich in 1936? For some of us in the audience, we knew that Jesse Owens won several individuals races including:

  • 100 meter dash
  • 200 meter
  • 400 meter

Jesse also was a member of the winning team for the 400 meter rely. However, this is not real story.

Do you know who came in second in the 100 meter dash? Answer is Ralph Metcalfe. Yes, Ralph was first loser again for the second time. He lost back in 1932 to another teammate.

After the 1936 Olympics, he returned to the United States to earn his college degrees from Marquette University, University of Southern California and Xaxier University. He had identified his purpose in life: honor and serve his country.

Then World War II broke out and Ralph enlisted. He rose to the ranks of a First Lieutenant. This was no small feat in a time where black officers where far and few between.

Ralph left the service and ended up in Chicago where he became a successful business man. Then in early 1970, he re-examined his purpose. Being 60 years old, he realized he was too old for a gold medal and too feeble for the Army.

Ralph instead decided to enter politics as a Democrat to continue his purpose of honor and serving his country, . He was elected to the U. S. Congress, House of Representatives, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976 and 1978. During his last election, he even beat back the Daley machine and the election was a close as the 100 meter race back in 1936. Ralph prevailed. Unfortunately, he died before he could claim the seat he fought so hard to retain.

Through all these times, Ralph was consistently true to his purpose of honor and serving his country. He understood that loser is always a verb and only becomes a noun when you lose your purpose.

Beyond the critical additive of purpose, individuals need:

  • Goals Action Plan
  • Attitudes
  • Self Leadership Skills

Human beings by their very nature are goal seeking creatures. Yet, goal achievement alludes almost as many. With a goals action plan in place that is balanced between personal and professional lives, consistent goal achievement happens. As we become more successful, we begin to unleash even more our potential because as the old saying goes: Success breeds success. Coaching Tip: Do your people know how to consistently set and achieve their goals? If not, this should be something your human resources department should be offering as professional development.

Simply speaking, attitudes are habits of thought. They are like records that we hear in our brains 24/7. You have the power to change them, to refocus them. Attitudes can add zip to our fuel or actually clog our fuel filters.

If we lived in a vacuum, we probably would not need the level of self leadership skills demand by today's global economy. A recent report by confirms that self leadership skills such as being a team player are far more critical than job specific skills.

Can you imagine trying to construct a road or a building without being able to communicate? Or what about all those decisions you need to make on the job? And let us not forget time management. How can you get everything done to bring the project in on budget and on time?

By uniting purpose to goals, attitudes and self leadership skills, people can significantly increase their potential and get closer to turning very hot water into boiling water. And we all know what happens to boiling water.

How well is your human resource developing leaders? Get this free self leadership skills checklist.

What other strategies are you using to leverage your human capital? This free customer loyalty audit may help better understand how to cultivate loyal customers by turning them into raving fans.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, chief customer officer with offices near Chicago & Indianapolis, helps organizations through business coaching training services to return to the purpose of business that being building ravings fans while increasing productivity and profitability. Her clients quickly double their results in 30 to 90 days. Call 219.759.5601 to schedule a free business coaching training consultation.


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