Engaging with the Unknown: Taking a break from it all to gain motivation.
This week, I have faced my fear of the unknown and ventured to Portugal on a mindfulness, meditation and yoga retreat. This is something that I have considered doing for years; always finding reasons not to offer myself the gift of inner awakening. However, as part of The Human Element, it is imperative that I immerse myself in new challenges with an open mind in my quest to better understand the connection between how people behave as individuals and as part of the collective of organisational culture.
Sharing my journey with 24 others, I have entered the world of collaborative working at its best. The word ‘transformation’ has been openly used, but not once have I heard discussions about ‘change’; a word that is often over-used in the world of business. The 24 individuals with whom I have shared some of my innermost thoughts are also on their own personal journeys, much like that of any company culture. What I learned early on in the week is that the secret is not needing to build something new, but tapping into the positive and powerful essence that already exists inside of us.
When I looked more closely at my own experience, I could see how leaders can be more authentic champions for transformation by drawing parallels between their own personal journeys and the organic state of all businesses. We are in the constant flux of change, but we must look to our strengths and those of employees to build a transformation narrative that embraces employee success stories.
Rolling out a ‘change programme’ in an organisation indicates that employees have been doing something wrong. Employee engagement should not be about change, but of unleashing the greatness that already exists within a company culture – a true transformation, bringing life and energy back to the organic state of the company culture. It is an opportunity to release processes and attitudes that no longer serve its employees, in their pursuit of happiness. It is also a time for the collective to work together in support of a common goal and purpose. Employees want to work for a company that they feel part of, one where they have a connection to a higher purpose.
“Businesses are driven by humans, therefore behave like humans,” has never been more true than when you delve deep into why corporate values exist. They are not a tick-in-the-box, created to keep up with other companies, or to make a great marketing statements. They are the foundation that makes a business human and should drive its projected personality and ideologies. Transformation allows all employees to come together around the values and be on a journey as one collective; and this has been at the heart of every successful engagement programme Bridge has been part of. Solutions should put real-life context to the values that employees are being asked to live as organisational citizens, in a place that the entire team can come together in a relaxed and open environment to share both successes and challenges.
An engagement programme needs to be unique to the personality of an organisation and its people, and creative learning opens minds to transform staff alongside the business. Never confuse training and transformation, simply because they both take place in a training room. Creative solutions that inspire employees must be woven into their daily lives for them to want to participate in the future of the business. At Bridge we often say that the first stage of engagement begins with having your voice heard. My advice: before you embark on any employee programme, find out what the team thinks.