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Donnelly Effect delivers 17 in '17: 17 actionable SPARKS to ignite your team for better leadership, customer and employee experience and a better bottom line.

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Use one minute and take a mental inventory of your team right now. Think about WHO they are and WHAT they do. Are they coming into focus? Did you categorize them in any way?

During my time at Disney, I noticed that when leaders think about who they’re leading, they can place most of their teams into one of three groups: 

1. Ones that ‘get it’ – These people are awesome to work with and easy to lead. 
2. Ones that are ‘on the fence’ – These are your average employees with good and bad days. 
3. Ones that are ‘mood killers’ – Employees who drag down the team - and the vibe - all the time. 

In a perfect world, you’d have all employees resting comfortably in the top one-third of the pack – but that’s unrealistic. It’s human nature for people to have a bad day, just as it’s common to have unmotivated team members kill the workplace mojo on a daily basis. (Don’t worry…you can admit that certain employee’s faces are popping into your head right now. I won’t tell!) 

While grouping your team in chunks can help during your training efforts, many leaders approach this the wrong way. If you want to get the most out of your team, try leading in 3’s.  


Leading in 3’s 

I’m willing to bet that you prioritize training and development groups into something like this, right? 

First priority: The ‘total downer’ employees that always seem to have “issues” 
Second priority: The ‘on the fence’ employees that have some good days and some bad days 
Third priority: The ‘get it’ employees who are a consistent delight to lead 

This may seem like a logical solution, but it’s not the most effective. Leading in 3’s is all about shifting your focus. Instead of prioritizing the lower third, focus on the top third of employees who are already thriving. Flip your focus 180 degrees. You’ll find the middle group is more likely to move upwards rather than backwards when this technique is applied.

Why This Is Effective 

Most leaders choose to spend the majority of their time and energy on the grumpy bunch. But this approach is exhausting for leaders and it rarely changes group results. Even worse, it disheartens the awesome employees who see the slackers with the consistent attention of leadership. 

Using this method kills two birds with one stone. You influence your middle third (the fence sitters) while celebrating, rewarding and also showing appreciation for your most valuable team members. 

Remember that your end goal is to IMPROVE the customer experience and CREATE LOYALTY. There’s no better way to do that than to ensure employees feel empowered to represent your organization in the best light. And motivating your best employees to be that guiding light becomes your most persuasive argument. 

Secondly, you appeal to the most influential of human traits by focusing on your best people. Encouraging that middle group by highlighting what could be theirs if they choose a new path. Here, you’re catering to their competitive natures hoping that they, too, want to be recognized for their successes. 

Invest time in your developmental procedures to spark employee engagement and productivity. Often times, people need just a little push to the top. Try it and see how leading in 3’s can be that push!
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ABOUT MIKE DONNELLY: With over 20 years of Disney leadership experience, Mike Donnelly, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Donnelly Effect shares his insights on Talent Selection and HiringEmployee OnboardingCustomer ExperienceService Culture and Leadership- among others. Donnelly Effect is home of the exclusive "World-Class Workshop" series and offers consulting services and keynote addresses to audiences of all sizes and industries. Since 2007, Mike Donnelly has been a contracted Disney Institute Facilitator, delivering Disney customer service training to audiences across the United States. 

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