A Year in Review: Borrowing the Wisdom of Your Peers

Published: December 3, 2015

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you’re surrounded by organizations who have solved the excellence challenge. Top workplace publications are packed with examples of strategy that anchors recruitment and retention, promotes employee engagement, supports creativity, and embraces change. There is no shame in borrowing from the best practices of your peers. Below are a few highlights showcasing some of the original approaches we’ve observed over the past year.

Vision Checklist: In an effort to improve collaboration between senior leadership and middle management, managers designed a simple filtering tool to ensure major initiatives were true to a clear, cohesive, consistent, and customer-informed vision.

Conflict Ground Rules: Recognizing that differences eventually fuel innovation, a set of guidelines was established to promote, mature, respectful, and professional exchange during periods of disagreement.

Challenge Agenda: To promote diversity, an opportunity to question perspectives was built into the routine staff meeting itinerary.

Obsolescence Review: Rather than continuing to add capacity to deal with increasing complexity, inefficient or obsolete tasks were subtracted when they were no longer justified.

Change Criteria: A set of mission-aligned standards was built into the change process to safeguard stakeholder interest, business sustainability, and positive culture.

Protected Time: In the face of increasing demands and diminishing resources, a triage system was established to protect primary tasks.

Old Baggage Amnesty: Teammates committed to identify three conversations that would address lingering unresolved problems and find an appropriate time and place to move these issues forward.

Strengths-based Coaching: Employee growth tactics were tied to strength and competency assessment results to enable purpose-driven professional development.

Strong and healthy organizations are always looking for new ways to enhance the workplace so top talent can thrive. Perhaps the lessons from others’ 2015 success informs the direction for your 2016.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.