So I was in London at the ORC International Engagement conference the other day and something odd happened. I enjoyed myself. It was a great day. It was… (and I can hear eyes rolling) really engaging. There were some great speakers and really good panellists and, despite all natural inclinations to the opposite, I learned something.
SO – here are 10 random highlights for me and a few others I spoke to.
1. Love your people – you want to hire people to best suited to the job. This usually means they have certain personality traits that make them a good fit for the work they do. They aren’t going to turn off those traits when dealing with the organisation – they won’t suddenly become fluffy bunnies. People who are great with detail and quality are going to want the detail and the quality from the organisation. Accept and embrace it.
2. When trying to engage employees who are out in the field and working shifts you have to have management that is willing to be flexible and go to them. I really liked the idea of management being on hand for different working environments and managing the people and their personalities.
3. When you’re going through change try leading from the middle – don’t try and charge ahead without explanations or discussion. You might find yourself leading an assault of one…
4. As a leader, don’t over commit. It is easy to do, but when it happens it can wreak havoc with the trust that employees have in you. There remains a need to have aspirations and have a vision for the future, but be realistic! If you say you are going to do something, then you need to do it!
5. Low budget but creative is as good as big budget…. “Thank God It’s Monday” forums – have fun! Listen to people with provocative messages and don’t be afraid of them.
6. If your organisation is obsessed with email (and it’s getting out of hand) try a ‘Let’s Talk’ day when emails are banned and bringing back real conversations. They’ll either love it or hate you but at least you’ll have something to talk about.
7. Action planning can be a fatal phrase. It can make you think it’s just something you do for a survey rather than an ongoing process so make sure you’re embedding the right habits in your people.
8. Just because some results are beyond line managers direct control doesn’t mean they can’t do something about it. Have 3 types of goals: SMART (a “get on with it” goal), Consultative (“do some more research about it” goal), and Influencing (“a bend the right senior ear” goal) = no more excuses.
9. Line managers are so crucial but they need good role models and guidance from the top and support. Don’t leave them hanging in the wind.
10. Be open and honest about change – possibly the most impressive idea I heard was when cuts had to be made in a department they explained what they needed to save and why and then left it up to the colleagues in that department to figure out the how. By being open and honest with people (and treating them like adults), it ensured that painful decisions whilst still painful, weren’t damaging.
I could go on but 10 seems like a nice round number so I’ll leave it at that. Feel free to comment if you were there and want to add to the list (or if you weren’t and feel like it anyway).