It’s been four and a half months since my last post on ideationz. Time flies, right? Well, there has been an awful lot going on at work, coupled with a glorious summer spent travelling East, driving North, bringing aboard new clients and meeting many new friends. Our firm wrapped up its fiscal year in June, setting records for new customer acquisition, client satisfaction and retention, and in the process continue to hold title to the largest (best) Engagement Agency in the world.
As I have been studiously monitoring where the provocative and the brightest thought leaders in the field of employee, channel and customer engagement are headed, a few thoughts have come to mind.
First, the more that organizations attempt to deploy a “silver bullet” approach to addressing the sagging levels of employee passion, happiness, and commitment, the farther away they seem to move from achieving their goal. Too many companies put too much stock in using recognition tools and technology that exacerbate the feelings of disassociation and disillusion that accompany low levels of emotional attachment by the workforce. Why? Because the action does not serve to validate the values that are communicated, and the leadership does not embrace the true imperatives that need to be acted upon.
If you want to cultivate an inclusive, positive, caring, committed workplace environment, you need to first open up executives, managers and subordinates to act in ways that are inclusive, positive, caring and committed to the wellbeing of others. It’s so obvious, yet so poorly considered, and most typically ignored. Embrace change, provide active listening posts, exemplify the sentiments that you wish others to display, and methodically strip away the vestiges of fear that have taken residence inside the company.
Ray Wylie Hubbard (singer, songwriter, Texan) proclaimed that the key to having a good day is keeping your gratitude higher than your expectations. Why can’t leadership do that? Holding gratitude in abeyance pending delivery beyond expectations is almost certainly going to disenfranchise.
Communicate. Develop. Commit. Align. Measure. Appreciate. Celebrate. Advance. Nurture. Empower. These ten words in combination will do more to build your organization than any lesser subset of them could possibly do. Taken individually, as one-off values, they are incapable of marking meaningful progress. Collectively, these qualities, when gifted to the organization, and energized through demonstration, create what Aristotle might have termed “energeia”, harnessing kinetic motion to shift that which is a potentiality as such to become what is, over time, an evolving and dynamic actuality.
Einstein correlated the relationship between energy, mass, and velocity. Modern organizations have, in varying circumstances and degrees, sought to create energy out of velocity alone (e.g., the startup that has capital, and an idea, but lacks the capacity to monetize either for longevity), or to define the impact of their company solely on its mass, even if motionless, and devoid of energy (e.g., the demise of brands like Gateway, Polaroid, Sears, or AOL).
The takeaway here: Stop turning away from what needs to be done, opting instead to find a quick, inexpensive, and minimally intrusive solution that will lead to sustainability. Instead, take the ten words bolded above and begin defining, quantifying, mind-mapping and shaping the plan that will set your firm on a longer, vastly more interesting, energizing, and ultimately rewarding journey. Your shareholders, as well as your employees, channel partners, and customers, will respond in all the very best ways, with loyalty, commitment and a profound display of appreciation.