Nano Tools for Leaders

In Executive Education, Leadership, Nano Tools, Wharton on August 26, 2010 at 4:46 pm

We’re pleased to introduce a new monthly feature on our blog in response to the growing demands on leaders to deliver big results in short timeframes.

Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes – with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.

We’re partnering with Wharton Executive Education to offer a new Nano Tool each month.  Each tool is backed by research and grounded in the proven best practices taught in Wharton’s executive programs.

We invite you to join our conversation.  Share your comments and best practices here on our blog, and contribute to the pool of resources available to leaders who are committed to delivering results.

We’d like to thank Associate Professor of Management, Adam Grant, for serving as the Academic Director for Nano Tools.  And Deb Giffen, Director of Innovation Learning Solutions at Wharton Executive Education, who conceived and developed the Nano Tool concept.

From our blog home, click “Read More and Comment” to continue on to the Nano Tool.


Mike Useem

Nano Tools for Leaders

Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools you can learn and apply in less than 15 minutes, with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.

Employee Engagement: Making a Difference

Contributor: Adam M. Grant, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

The Goal:

Increase employee engagement and productivity despite current economic challenges.

Nano Tool:

Show your team the positive effects their work creates in other people’s lives. Research by Professor Adam Grant shows that one five-minute interaction with those who benefit from the organization’s products and services can produce up to a 500% increase in employee productivity. When clients, customers, and other end users express feedback and appreciation, employees develop stronger beliefs in the impact and value of their work.

Interaction also increases empathy for customers, even when the interaction is virtual. In research with radiologists who have no patient interaction, attaching a photo of the patient to an x-ray enhances their effort and accuracy, yielding 12% increases in the length of their reports and 46% improvements in diagnostic findings.

How It Works:

·        Volvo collects stories from drivers and passengers about how the company’s safety designs have saved their lives.

·        Wells Fargo managers show videotapes of customers describing how bankers’ loans have made it possible for them to purchase homes and pay for college.

·        At Medtronic, patients who have benefited from the company’s medical devices are invited to tell their life-changing stories at an annual holiday party. Engineers and technicians also attend approximately 70% of all operations where Medtronic devices are inserted.

·        A large global accounting firm regularly gives their back-office accountants a chance to attend client presentations and meet with customers to hear direct feedback.

·        Best Buy builds connections between their technology pros and customers through twelpforce, where the pros offer tech advice in Tweet form.

(See the Additional Resources links below for more examples and research findings.)

Action Steps:

1. Identify groups of people who benefit from your team’s work, but have never shared their feedback, such as clients, customers, suppliers, or coworkers and managers from different divisions and departments.

2. Arrange short interactions with your team: invite the beneficiaries to speak to employees; or share their stories in e-mails or on the intranet; or create short video or electronic messages where people express their appreciation to your team.

3. Find new stories to share on a regular basis to keep engagement alive.

4. Ask team members to share their own stories about how their work has made a difference.

Share Your Best Practices:

Do you have a best practice for showing a team how they’ve made a difference? If so, please share it on our  blog at Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management.

Additional Resources:

·        Putting a Face to a Name: The Art of Motivating Employees – Grant’s research highlighted in Wharton’s free online business journal, Knowledge@Wharton

·        A Low-Cost Way to Improve Performance – Bloomberg-BusinessWeek article featuring Grant’s research on non-financial ways to motivate employees

·        Is Purpose Really an Effective Motivator? – Grant’s research highlighted in Daniel Pink’s blog

·        Additional research and media coverage of Adam Grant

·        Academic papers by Adam Grant (see “the significance of task significance” and “the art of motivation maintenance”).

·        YouTube – Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us – Short video by Daniel Pink, a featured presenter in Wharton’s Advanced Management Program.

·        Adam Grant teaches Motivation and Engagement in Wharton’s Executive Development Program.

Click the Red Response Box below to leave your best practices and comments.

  1. This is excellent note . I am sure this will make diffrance in my office . I am going to practice the same right now. Thanks for the idea.

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