Most of us are required to engage with others daily. These interactions can make or break our business success. As a leader and an employee, I find myself on both sides of the conversation and have encountered various levels of success. As it applies to strategic thinking and strategic projects, consider these thoughts on engagement.
When do you engage?
Our strategy can be a mystery to some employees. Your level of engagement changes based on the clarity of your plan and your clarity of direction.
Unclear Strategy or lack of Direction → Requires High Engagement
The lack of high engagement with an unclear strategy or direction can cause stress in our employees and discourage productive execution. The top 2 signs of an unclear strategy according to Forbes magazine are:
- Your organization routinely struggles to hit important targets. (1)
- Your employees complain about too many priorities and poor communication. (1)
When you see these signs or any signs in the Forbes article, it is important to engage at a much higher level until you can communicate the strategy.
How do you engage?
Understanding the reality of our employees is crucial in a productive work environment. Their reality may not match our reality as managers. Our employees don’t always have the context we have, and they may not see the big picture. If your employees show signs of lack of strategic clarity, as a coach, focus on creating new connections for your employees. These activities take time and require a delicate set of questions for our employees to move toward new connections. Before I proceed to give some thoughts on how to engage, I want to explain the meaning of connection. A connection is when your employee begins to realize the strategy and has their own “Ah Ha Moments.” (2)
So, how do we engage our employees?
Fully engage in meetings
Ask questions that bring out confidence in the employee while encouraging new connections at the same time.
Examples may be:
“Good job pulling data for your business case. Do you think there are ways to make the case stronger?” Lead them to their insights.
Before the meeting ask, “what would you like the outcome of this meeting to be?” After the meeting ask, “did we accomplish your outcome?”
Meet one on one
Discuss the strategy with the employee. Then ask that they echo in their words the strategic vision and mission.
Consider the above thoughts on engaging in strategy to ensure your business success. Know when to engage and how to engage. I invite you to build on this post. An interactive audience enables learning for us all.