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Time to Move the Needle With Three Simple Steps Into the New Year

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Time to Move the Needle With Three Simple Steps Into the New Year

Happy new year. Who’s ready to make this one the year in which we actually move the needle on something meaningful?

Who’s ready to stop blaming ‘meh’ performance, results, and talent woes on fallbacks like…

  • “Our culture just doesn’t support innovation or collaboration”
  • “Well, our senior leadership doesn’t set the right examples”
  • “My great people are leaving because of compensation”
     

Anyone with a hand up is one of my people! Because what these and all their other fallback brethren have in common is this: they defer accountability to all things outside of your control.
 
Sure. There are things outside of your sphere of influence. But this year, let’s focus on the things that are indeed within it.
 
So let’s go.
 
Step One: Give “Employee Engagement” the boot. (Maybe with humanity and a severance package)
 
Employee Engagement. It’s like a pillow on a cloud filled with marshmallows.
Get it? It’s really soft. And frankly, it simply isn’t serving us anymore.
 
Employee engagement is defined as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” But if you’re a leader of a team, how useful – truly – is this metric to you?
 
What if, like so very many leaders we’ve worked with, you have a team of emotionally committed people – people who want so much to deliver their best work, but simply can’t due to a lack of empowerment or resources, general overwhelm and overwork, the absence of context and collaboration, etc.?
 
How does focusing on employee engagement actually serve your results, your customers?
 
Answer. It doesn’t. It’s a feeling. A sentiment. It’s a place we never quite arrive at, when what we really need is the roadmap.
 
Hence, its severance package.
 
Step Two: Hire Its Replacement: Activation. (Maybe with a hefty sign-on bonus)
 
Activation means simply stepping off the marshmallowy cloud of engagement, and stepping instead into our Zone of Action.
 
While employee engagement has been relegated, in so many organizations we’ve worked with, to Human Resources and Starbucks gift cards, Activation is about an honest discovery of the tangible things that your team needs – things you can do or influence – in order to amaze you.
 
And this discovery begins not with an enterprise-wide survey (that, spoiler: will probably end in Starbucks gift cards), but with a set of forums – #SuperCandid conversations with your teams – in which you ask the right questions from a place of curiosity around their insights and suggestions, and then committing to reflecting and responding. Like, with action.
 
Step Three: Prioritize The Simple… and Run With It! 
 
They say change doesn’t happen overnight.
 
But you know what? When the change is simple and small – it sure damn does!
 
My guarantee is this: when you pose the right questions to your team, and really invite their responses and suggestions at any altitude (not just the sexy stuff) – you will absolutely uncover small, niggly pain points that you can actually change or improve overnight!

Related: The One Question to Ask in 2018
 
We’ve done this with organizations big and small, across industries – and when we find and implement the simple and essential tweaks, we see the following impacts transpire:

  • Teams feel heard and brave… and more willing to keep the feedback coming
  • Inertia builds…allowing bigger and more complex ideas to take shape
  • Innovation begins to emerge because people at all levels are speaking up
  • Leaders find more breathing room in their own days because their teams become more empowered and independent
     

 The list is long.
 
If you’d like support or more information on how we can help, let us know.
 
If you’re up for running with it on your own, then check out our free Guide to Thrive toolkit, which walks you through a road-tested process you can use with your team.
 
Whichever path you choose, just be sure you’re committed to focusing on what you caninfluence or control, and not letting excuses bigger than you hold you or your teams back.
 
2018 will indeed be the year we make work work better!

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