Over the many years that I have been involved in a huge variety of organisations, I have come to realise and re-realise that people are the SUCCESS of any business or individual project. Whether seeking to make profit for shareholders, or achieve outcomes against a budget, or deliver charitable benefit – your people will make or break it!
Sure, technology can help, as can slick and effective processes… indeed these things are often critical success factors too. But without the right people to implement and use these things your success will be limited at best! So how can you ensure that your people are best equipped to be able and willing to keep supporting your success? More than that – how can you form and maintain a two-way relationship of mutual support that encourages commitment and passion for your goals?
Do any of these questions ring true to you?
- Do you worry about how you will keep your good people?
- Are you concerned about team performance or the culture in your office?
- Do you think your people are happy and committed but you’d like to be sure?
- Are your people complaining?
- Do you want to show your people that they have a voice and that you listen?
- Are you committed to continuous improvement and want to demonstrate that?
These are dilemmas that lots of us face when running businesses, organisational departments, or individual teams. I have myself many many times – and I have worked alongside many leaders also facing these same concerns. The best ones ask these kinds of questions when things seem to going well! Maintaining a ‘good mood’ is much easier and more cost effective than trying to build one from despair… This is true in our personal lives, and equally as relevant in the work place!
There are many ways that I work with people to help them understand, improve, maintain and sustain a positive climate within their teams. Here are a few short thoughts on the key areas that most of my activity falls within, and the things that I believe are critical to consider when looking at the “human value” within any organisation or team of people:
- UNDERSTANDING. Gathering information to determine how people are currently feeling and behaving. This may involve surveys, group workshops, one-to-one interviews, document reviews, data analysis, and a number of other tools and techniques. The important thing here is to establish a baseline understanding of what is going on now – what is the mood? This phase also involves understand where you want to be! What does your ‘people’ future look like? What culture do you want to nurture? What mood do you want your people to be in?!
- ANALYSING. Interpreting information that has been gathered to identify strengths, gaps, opportunities and trends. Comparing what you now know about today with what you desire for the future. Where are the opportunities for development? What is working well – and why is it? How is perception relating to reality? Here it is important to also draw on the ‘gut feel’ that experience brings in order to combine the science of data and information with the art of intuition. We are dealing with people after all – logic alone is not always the whole answer!
- COMMITTING. Sharing information to generate team ownership of the future – and any changes required to achieve it. How can we consciously maintain and sustain our strengths? It is great that things are good – but how can we make sure they stay good? How can we address the concerns? Group debate and planning to identify actions and gain commitment to them. How can we enable resilience?
I have been an independent facilitator for over 10 years now and I love this aspect of what I do. I use it throughout my engagements: bringing people together to disrupt and challenge the ‘norm’; to enable the time and space to creatively question patterns of thinking and behaviour and the impact they have; to enable people in groups to discover something new or different about themselves and the way they react and interact; to generate ideas and to plan together. These are just a few of the benefits of the facilitative approach that I think are so powerful and rewarding!
Identifying ways to improve and maintain a positive ‘mood’ in your organisation will help people to feel valued and enjoy where they work; it will improve the chances of success of longer term culture change; your organisation will become more resilient in terms of its people capacity; and performance sustainability can be optimised! What’s not to like!