Four Ideas to Improve Employee Engagement and Performance

Despite heavy investment by organisations to improve their customer experience, customers still complain about inconsistent and unsatisfactory experiences.

Moreover, when these issues are put to leaders and managers of many organisations, they often cite lack of collaboration and communication, siloed thinking and the disappointing results of their digital and transformation efforts as some of the main reasons behind their their inability to deliver a consistent and delightful customer experience.

Therefore, to achieve the performance levels that customers and leaders want, something has to change.

And what better place to start than with leaders and managers themselves.

Four ideas discussed at a recent Thinkers50 event in London provide some clues as to where they should start. Thinkers50 compiles a global ranking of management thinkers and every two years they publish a new ranking and guide to which management thinkers and ideas matter now.

These ideas came from leading management thinkers Tom Peters, Nilofer Merchant, Alex Osterwalder and Liz Wiseman and they were:

1. Stop Talking About Talent

In a conversation during the first session of the day, Tom Peters and Nilofer Merchant talked about talent.

During their conversation they agreed that they would like to see organisations stop talking about talent and start talking about people. This was for two main reasons:

i. They believe that, in a world that is increasingly technical and digital in nature, when we talk about talent there is a danger that it devalues the broad(er) contribution that people can make to a business.

ii. Nilofer Merchant backed this up with a warning where she said that as soon as we start talking about talent, and not people, we start to make assumptions about who is capable of what and that very act limits our view of what is possible and by whom.

2. Embrace MBWA

During the same conversation, Tom Peters lamented that even after writing about it back in 1982 in In Search of Excellence: Lessons From America’s Best-Run Companies, too few managers and leaders have embraced and maintained the practice of MBWA (Managing by Wandering Around).

This is a similar point to one I recently made in Customer Experience Leaders: When Was The Last Time You Went To The Gemba?

Now, while it is true that modern organisation and business culture can mitigate against this sort of behaviour, Tom maintains that the absence of MBWA has a direct impact on an organisation’s ability to engage its employees, understand productivity and performance issues and drive improvement and innovation.

Nilofer drove this point home when she opined that: “Every single person in your organisation has the capacity to contribute. The fact that you cannot access their contribution is your problem.”

3. Leaders as Facilitators

Alex Osterwalder suggested that leaders should see themselves less as decision makers and more like facilitators than anything else.

Their role should be, primarily, about identifying and removing obstacles such that they can then get out of the way and let their people do their best work.

4. Find the Pockets of Real Change

Liz Wiseman suggested that, contrary to popular belief, real change tends to happen in pockets in organisations and that real change rarely starts at the top.

Simple enough insights, but imagine what could and would happen if you, as a leader or a manager, combined all four of these ideas and incorporated them into your working day.

Imagine the sort of day that you would have if you introduced a significant element of MBWA into your day so that you could meet, listen to, question and start to access your people’s collective intellect, insight, ingenuity, resourcefulness and creativity.

Imagine the impact on the level of engagement that would have in your organisation.

Imagine if you combined that with looking for those pockets of real change and you focused on helping facilitate that change to the point where you could leverage it to the benefit of the whole organisation.

Imagine if you did all of that on a consistent and continuous basis….

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Adrian Swinscoe – View the original post

Published On: 14th Dec 2017 - Last modified: 19th Dec 2017
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