Are you struggling to move the needle on your employee engagement numbers? Well, just stop! Yes that’s right, I’m telling you to stop focusing on employee engagement. That work is just so passé now.
As partners to other leaders in our organizations, HR professionals have a unique opportunity to forge new ways of working to energize our people and improve business results. Here are 3 tips to energize your organization.
- Substitute your dated mission and vision statements with a declaration of purpose
One of the most powerful exercises I ever went through during strategic planning sessions was to define the purpose of our telecommunications business unit. We drilled down over and over again asking ourselves why our particular organization existed. In the end we came up with “We open the windows to the world”. Those windows could be telephone conversations, television programming, or global access via the internet. Another example comes from the Kellogg food company who “nourish families so they can flourish and thrive.”
According to Sherry Hakimi, CEO of Sparktures, “An organization without purpose manages people and resources, while an organization with purpose mobilizes people and resources.” HR leaders can influence our organizations to grow past the standard mission and vision and embrace a head and heart felt purpose. If you have to, start with the purpose of your own business unit.
- Raise your leadership capabilities to new heights
It appears that leadership has become a technical skill. Scan the bookshelf and you’ll see titles like:
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
- Leadership: the Top 100 Ways to be a Great Leader
- Real Leadership: 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose
This demand for knowledge about leadership is based on an acknowledgment that command & control leadership styles have long lost their effectiveness. Leaders have been moving into a motivational leadership model. The definition of motivate is to provide a motive, to induce, initiate, influence. It’s about lighting a fire underneath our people. Motivational metaphors are pervasive in the workplace and perhaps the three most popular themes are around war, sports, or Darwinian in nature.
- It’s a battleground out there and it’s time to launch our new campaign
- That was a knock-out month, way to hit the competition
- It’s a jungle out there and only the strongest will survive
Have you noticed that these metaphors are all about win lose? I’d like to suggest that it’s time to evolve to the next level, to inspirational leadership. The word inspire comes from the Latin “spirare”, meaning spirit, to affect, guide; to fill with enlivening or exalting emotions, to animate, to breathe into. When we inspire it’s an act of service, it’s about giving to the other person. It’s about lighting the fire from within.
What will it take to raise your personal consciousness to become an inspirational leader? What can you do to help others grow into this new management style that will increase our employees’ passion for their work?
- Replace the engagement survey with a culture assessment
Toss the engagement surveys and implement culture assessments instead. Despite thinking to the contrary, there are several tools out there that can measure culture and demystify what’s really going on in the organization. My favorite are the globally recognized culture assessment tools offered by the Barrett Values Centre. They were created by Richard Barrett, author of Liberating the Corporate Soul.
Getting a benchmark on where you are today with your culture is invaluable when putting together an action plan to transform your culture. Uncovering the barriers that are preventing your people from doing their very best work, ensures you’re addressing the root causes of the leaks in your productivity pipeline. If you’d like to explore a culture assessment, I’d love to have a virtual coffee with you. Check out available calendar spots here.
The world is disruptive and ever changing, and the best companies are transforming with it. Consider these words from Deepak Chopra. “Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”