In Jim Haudin’s Book, The Art of Engagement, he goes into great detail to lay the foundation of engagement tactics that are not only solid in proof but also in evidence. He gives you piratical advice that you can apply today – to the projects, change iniatives, technolgy advance and stratgy meetings you are setting up for next year.
From the other two posts I have written in reflection – Being apart of something big and Voices from the trenches – this final post in this series is going to walk through Haudin’s keys to engagement. I, of course have social business on the brian and will be looking at these points with the social technology point of view, but they could honestly be applied to any strategic movement.
Keys to Engagement
- Connecting through images and stories
- Creating pictures together
- Believing in Leaders
- Owning the solution
- Playing the entire game
- Allowing people to practice before performing
I may have written about this before but I will always be an advocate for imagery over beautifully crafted and highly strategic words. Think about drawing a picture. You can’t draw a picture if you haven’t thought about what you want it to look like in the end. Even if it is a simple picture, you still need to look at it from a bigger picture. Of course you could just start drawing and see where the pencil takes you, but don’t expect anyone else to understand what you are doing or to jump into the picture and help you.
Haudin uses a great activity, which I want to start using with the teams I work with. He calls it something to the effect of Napkin iterations. Providing a cocktail napkin to the team, encourage the team to draw their business landscape. As a team share what you have drawn then continue to iterate and build one picture until the picture accurately shows the current state (or future desired state). When I thinking about bringing social tools into the organization to help improve business velocity and accelaration I could not think of a more perfect way to misinpreret what that means, plus that could mean something different for each function of the business. If the goal is to move your business to faster and quicker results, how can we help visualize this and do it together? By creating visual iterations of the big pictures you as a team will be able to see if what you said really shows what you meant. Plus as with collaboration, your single idea of what the big idea is will be better with the ideas of your team.
Some look at me with puzzled looks, as if they don’t have a watercooler. But we really talk about the conversations people are having and what they have done to contribute to them, or benefit from them. With the social tools, such as Yammer, they provide these water cooler conversations to become visible and actionable. Instead of their associates grubling behind the back and not doing anything about it, leaders truly have charge about them in creating the change.
When you begin to involved people to make their own conclusions and solutions about the strategy — they feel engaged.
Haudin writes, ” when conclusions change, behavioral changes often follow (p. 129).”
How can you encourage your employees to learn rather than take what is served to them to discover their need for the change. Think about the last time you showed a group the “answers” for the change and how that worked out? My guess is that if someone showed me the answers to a problem that would encourage apathy not engage me.
Thinking about your business. Do all your employees know the fundamentals pieces of your business? Like where the money comes from, where it goes and how much your organization keeps? If not what can you be doing to help them understand and see that at the very basic level. Sometimes people forget what it is like to be new or not understand. Haudin talks again about maps, and how no matter the skill level or the educational level of a person – they still have to be able to read your map.
The last thought about engagement is practicing. Now I go back and forth on this – practicing does not always equal training. It could mean that some people need more help than others and some need some advice with coaching. It means that people need the tools that get them to the next level. But practicing also means a sense of trust and safety to fail. This can mean huge results when thinking about decisions about the change.