The most intimidating assignment I ever had was to figure out a way to get a large, disenchanted workforce to get charged up with the company strategy, and trust management again. (Note: I found investors and media to be comparatively easy in this regard -- but EMPLOYEES? They don't want to be told, and they can't be sold, right?)
I believe I found the keys to that kingdom.
In fact, discovering how to solve this challenge became one of the most rewarding times of my career.
Many of my findings are played out in Daniel Pink's book "Drive," covering the surprising science behind motivation. I just found this great clip today, which consolidates his book down to 10 minutes of solid, (and entertaining), information. Watch it. Share it.
This new way of managing unleashes the global genius, elicits passion and motivation from your workforce, and blows through the roof the ROI you get on your headcount investment.
In a study published by Harvard last year, it, similarly, found that the number one motivating factor to employees is simply to "make progress" on the job. Not money. But actually being able to do what they think should be done -- and be freed of the roadblocks that crush passion, enthusiasm, and drive in its tracks.
Here are my conclusions and guiding principles for inspiring your workforce, getting them engaged with the strategy, believing in leadership, and elevating company results:
- Treat your employees like adults, and lead with "trust."
Your employees aren't kids. Let's stop treating them that way. They're trained critical thinkers, many with advanced degrees. They don't want to be fired. They actually want the company to be successful. Help them help you. Give them more ownership and more respect. Lead with trust. Avoid penalizing the 99% of your people who will help, because of the 1% who might hurt.
- "Include," rather than "Tell."
Include your people in the questions you're trying to solve, and let them help you come up with the best answer. Give them a means to share and contribute beyond doing what their manager has asked them to do, and beyond listening to your PowerPoints. By participating in the decision making process, they'll be more apt to support the conclusion and you will get a better and faster result. And just wait until you hear the contribution your introverts can make to the business! Right now, their voices are silent to you. What they have to say will change your world.
- Step out of the way.
Once your people know the "why" and the "what," do them a favor and get out of the way. Let your people get to work on making progress and helping your company be great. Measure on results, rather the micro-managing the hows.
Social networking tools -- and the behaviors that come with them -- are a GIFT to management teams everywhere. They invite cross-silo communication and collaboration; community and culture building; speed and company agility; remote team interaction; innovation; and any initiative the company wishes to launch.
Social networking tools and behaviors help you get a 10x bang for the buck from your headcount cost. Why? Because people are not limited to their job descriptions on internal social networks. As a result, you get passionate and knowledgeable workers contributing in unexpected places with wonderfully unexpected results. Think Wikipedia for your business.
--------------- Talk Back -----------------
When were you the most psyched up on the job? When you made the most money, or were given the ability, freedom, and respect to apply your wisdom on the job?
Where is your company on this journey?
If you need a third party to come in and talk with your management team about this new way of motivating and bringing in the business results, you know how to find me.
Thanks for engaging.
@pollypearson on Twitter