Staying Engaged & Focused in a constantly changing workplace
As you walk around the office and tune into conversations what do you hear ?
“Folks in (region / global / country) don't get it “
“They are too far away from reality - wish they can understand that this would (or not ) work”
“It's not that hard - only (if they) use a bit ofcommon sense”
“This stuff makes no sense - I am just not going to do this anymore as by the time I am mid way - we have to start doing something else"
Does this sound familiar?
According to the 2013 Gallup State of workplace survey - The bulk of employees worldwide70% are "not engaged," meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. These numbers were re validated by findings of survey by Towers Watson, Blessingwhite and Dale Carnegie.
The biggest contributors to engagement scores is as we know the line managers and the top leaders in the organization. In a recent study by the Forum Corporation - the relationship between engagement and accountability is the lowest among middle managers today, across all levels. This means that even the limited numbers who are engaged are possibly not taking ownership. Possible explanation to this as being stuck between a "rock and a hard place" as the middle managers try to translate the goals from the corporations to outcomes in their regions / countries.
So it is not surprising that we find ourselves saying or hearing the quotes above in our organizations. I have heard my fair share of these over the years. In this post i share with you some perspective and practices that have helped me stay sane, relatively better engaged and outcome focused
Accept that it's Imperfect - Set the frame right where it should be. We don't live in a perfect world and we have to accept that what we would experience as a consequence would not be perfect either.
Your Perspective is the best? - Perspective and opinions are powerful as they bring together diversity and a host of options to work with. The powerful aspect of this is that our perspective is akin to our children - it is painful to hear anything negative about them. We need to learn to be open to people's ideas. We have to prevent our minds from having a field day of negativity because our perspective does not have center stage.
Progress not Polarization - Big picture orientation is important. In the grand scheme of things one step or decision has a relatively lower impact than what our minds make it out to be. We should not hold on to our views so firmly (Polarization) that it results in a deadlock. Stay nimble and open to ideas and trying things. If we don't move we cant get anywhere.
Communicate - Communication is key esp now that we have more virtual teams. Constant and clear communication can really help drive alignment and engender trust. increases our purpose and improves the probability of success.
Reflect but dont Obsess - Reflect on how things are going to learn from it but don't obsess about every interaction, meeting and decision. That will clutter you mind and take away vital processing capability.
Play the ball not the (man) player - Invest time in solving the problem and work towards finding win win solution. Don't put people and personalities at the center of the discussion and have a go at them instead. Its easier to pass the blame onto someone than to actively find a solution to a problem. Anyone can do the easy thing - choose to do the right thing.
Reframe, Reframe, Reframe - Reframing is an very important tool set that helps you look at the current state and frame that into more positive frames. We always have positive aspects in our lives and roles, we need to actively look for it. These valuable aspects can really change your mindset and thinking. It can help you focus on the things that are within your control and actively work those to be able to make a difference. It can also give you the right frame to contribute effectively to those that are not within yours.
Keep a sense of humor - Take your role seriously but don't take yourself too seriously. Take things in your stride and live to fight another day.
In summary the above applied in combination will help increase agility to respond to the constant change in our environment and still move ahead and deliver our outcomes. It is difficult to stay engaged and make progress when a large majority choose to stay away or actively engage against our goals - the fact that we can - makes us hugely valuable to our firms.
As Ben Horowitz says “By far the most difficult skill I learned (as a C.E.O.) was the ability to manage my own psychology. Organizational design, process design, metrics, hiring and firing were all relatively straightforward skills to master compared with keeping my mind in check.”