As business leaders, we often use words we’d never say to our loved ones.
For example, we’d never ask someone we love to “implement a three-point strategy”, or to “capture insights, view them through the right lens, and cascade them to the rest of the family.”
We know that if we talked that way to the people we really care about, they would stare at us with baffled looks, smile blandly, and ignore us for the rest of the day.
Yet, all too often, that’s how we talk to our employees when we seek to “engage” them.
And they look at us with baffled looks, smile blandly, and ignore us.
Oh come on, surely you don’t think our employees are our loved ones!
So, what are they?
Last we checked, 100% of our employees were human beings.
As such, they are people who respond to respect, recognition, and acceptance.
They are looking to do work that matters, to themselves, to the world, and, yes, to your business.
And they have a need to create meaning in their lives and a desire to help others do the same.
They don’t just come to work to spend time and collect a paycheck.
They want to be involved, do work that counts, and see the results of their efforts.
They don’t need to be “rewarded” as much as “acknowledged” for their efforts.
But to help you “implement a strategy”, they need to clearly understand what you really need and why it matters.
They also need to see the best ways in which they personally can help.
Give the gift of meaning
People will do amazing things once they care about what they are doing.
They care when they understand what they’re being asked to do, see why it’s a good thing to do, and know what they personally can do to make it happen.
So don’t simply “cascade your strategy” down the chain of command and expect your business to respond.
Translate it so that is creates relevance and appeal with each individual within the company.
Create an idea with universal appeal – something everyone at every level can latch onto and live by.
Then walk the talk through conversations that turn your “strategy” into achievable personal agendas for each member of your team.
Delivered in this way, employees will see your message as a gift
A gift they’ve been waiting for that fills an emptiness they currently feel in the workplace.
A gift that engages them, fires them up, and inspires them to do great things.
A gift that helps them create meaning, for themselves, for others, and for the gift-giver.