Wednesday, August 22, 2007

People Tend to Support What They Help to Build

It’s about engagement, enthusiasm, the idea that “I’m a part of this and I’m going to do my best to make it succeed”. How powerful would it be if you could engage the staff to that depth of and passion for what they do?

People tend to support what they help to build, so how do you translate mandate, focus, and vision for an organization into projects that engage staff as key players in the future success of each one? One of my client’s managers does that with his staff when at all possible. Every organization has its pet projects and the ones that staff have to get stuck with, however when you strike that balance like ‘John’ did the result is engagement.

The key is paying attention. When the staff is sitting around the boardroom table and a new file comes in that they have to work on, he looks around the table to see whose eyes light up because of the subject matter. Then he starts asking questions of the group as to their opinions on how to get going on the file. He then listens for engagement, interest, level of energy in the responses and how each one begins a dialogue with the group and from that, along with their work load and all the other things managers have to take into consideration, tasks to the people who were fascinated by the project and look at it with a sense of possibility. They were already engaged, looking forward to tackling it and doing it really well, not to mention already having fun with the concepts and plans to get going.

Tasking to strengths; well this is one way of looking at it but it’s more than that. It’s letting people fly after their imagination has already engaged in the project and letting them go with it. Even if they don’t have all the experience and knowledge necessary to jump in immediately, with this level of energy they will find out everything they need to know and then some, and grow in the process.

It might take a bit more time to discern staff’s interests and level of engagement but if you did this on a regular basis, could you imagine how powerful it would be for your organization to have complete engagement, loyalty and a sense of ‘being a part of it all’, not just a small piece in a huge puzzle of manpower?

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