The current conversation we are having with fellow leaders is meant to discover how we can promote the best possible expression of people’s talents and skills. More specifically, how we can create and sustain healthy and productive work climates that lead to engagement, ownership, and accountability. What it takes to win the game, not just play. It’s common sense. Think about it…if you create an environment where people deeply engage…take ownership…align with a common purpose…you will excel.
Our efforts focus on cutting through the noise of what you are asked to do every day. It can be overwhelming…loud, confusing and disjointed. Creating a productive climate does not require flowery language or embracing the latest business buzzwords…it results from practical, straightforward and authentic interactions. Seems a simple concept, but we are struck time and again by its invisibility.
Here is a way to consider what we are talking about…
Take a moment and read your articulated corporate values. They may be right there on your wall or on the pad under your mouse. Maybe one says; “We promote teamwork in all we do.” Nice sentiment but what does it really mean for you? Do you put what is best for the team ahead of what is best for you? Do you sometimes feel that the team emphasis is a distraction to just getting the job done? Are you really rewarding for the “team effort”?
Any value statement is just a start. It captures someone’s or a group’s intent or aspiration. But, alone it is open to interpretation. Based on their experience, everyone has a different perception of what that value looks like for your company and, going further, everyone has a unique understanding of how they should act in accordance with that value.
We are talking about interacting to guide interpretation. Those individual interpretations and perceptions create meaning for people and contribute to your climate. When they are varied and misinformed, you have a climate where people may feel lost and disconnected. Certainly, they are not working for you in a fully engaged manner.
The single greatest act of a leader is to connect with his or her people—wherever they are. To do this, you have to pay attention to what is happening in the space between your people? Are they speaking the same language? How about the space between you and your people? Do they honestly trust your words and actions?