hree Things We All Need
So often is the case that my clients are looking for complex and costly ways of re-engaging their employees, managers and even leaders. They will pay tens of thousands of dollars on new training and development programs. They will send their managers to expensive weekend retreats and golf resorts. They will pay for external coaching sessions and adventure team-building offsites. Often is the case that after the retreats, sessions, training classes, and offsites are over – little change has taken place. What are we missing in our earnest attempts to bring people’s hearts and minds back to our organizations?
David Cooperrider, who developed the organizational change and renewal methodology known as appreciate inquiry and who also chairs Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, gives us a holistic perspective of what people need in our organizations. Professor Cooperrider simplifies the complexities of people engagement by stating these three things, he believes, all people need within their workplaces:
- Have a voice and be heard;
- Be viewed as essential to a group; and
- Be seen as unique and exceptional
Yesterday I was introduced to the phenomenal art project Post Secret http://postsecret.blogspot.com/ where people send postcards which hold their deepest secrets anonymously to the blog. This blog received over 3 million hits last year and three markedly successful books have been created in order to showcase some of the thousands of creative and honest postcards received.
So what is the connection between PostSecret and David Cooperrider’s wise words? The connection to me is the need for all of us to have a voice and to be heard. I believe that this need is so strong and important that if we can create environments where we each feel the freedom to share what is truly important to us and to have that information respectfully heard, then the other two critical needs will come about more natually.
Then how do we create organizations where each of us can bring our most courageous and committed selves to the table and voice what is important to us? How do we also strive to build work environments where the talent to listen is seen as a clear and important competency for success? Here are some suggestions:
- Build in reflection time within meeting and project timeframes - Making sure that people can raise concerns or build upon ideas can only lead to better team understanding, decisions, and products.
- Prioritize creating solid and trusting relationships - Understanding what others find important and value adds tremendous value to teams and helps lead to project successes and collaborative efforts.
- Practice curiosity instead of defensiveness - I once heard that the difference between arrogance and competence is curiosity!
- Become open to new ideas - Censoring people’s passions and creativity is one of the best ways to ensure talent drain and mediocrity within your business.