I’ve said it dozens of times. “We are all of who we are at work, and more so.” Every life experience; every bit of learning from our earliest recollection; our upbringing; our spirituality; our rational and irrational proclivities all come together with everyone else’s to become an 18 molar solution of humanity in the workplace. So, when there is a major or minor task to be completed, all of this humanity needs to be focused in a productive direction. All of this massive human diversity and all of the correlating behavioral need to be understood and utilized for the common good of the organization.
But how in heaven’s name do we do that?
The first thing that needs to be done when gathering talent for a task within the workplace is to establish a cultural foundation of the group. It needs to be genuine and meaningful to those attending. Depending upon the group, I will say something akin to, “I need all of your expertise and creativity for this task (whatever it is). We have the solutions in this group. We’re searching for gold, a vein of which is within each of us. Together we become the riches of the organization.” This opening statement serves two purposes. The first is to empower each participant and truly believe in them. The second is to also empower them to be the same with those they supervise, or mentor or serve. This allows for more freeing conversations and the ability to look at the issue with a greater optimism.
Model and reinforce the free exchange of ideas based upon the goal and mission of the group. I heartily recommend you say, “This group gathered for (name the mission or goal to be achieved) respects the dignity of every human being while here and when we leave this group.” It is one thing to think it, but it is an entirely different thing altogether to state it out loud and then to act the way a person so dedicated acts. The group will focus upon mutual respect, honesty, calm and assertive communication, all while establishing the objective behaviors every person expects to see as a result of this work and goal.
The defining of the tasks and expectations within the group, and thereby the organization, is accomplished through measurable and objective terms. It is a major accomplishment when a diverse group can agree on these terms and feel comfortable with them, regardless of their personal history or beliefs. The stage is then set to proceed with a given strategy. When these issues are addressed, when the natural ebb and flow of group dynamics occurs, that is forming, norming, storming and performing. Each and every one of us wants to be heard and wants to contribute in every way possible for the good of the organization.
When people have a drive to assist and to want to further the goals and reach of the organization, that is energy and drive capable of moving an organization in ways it had never thought possible. This creative energy, in my view, is the life’s blood of an organization. It needs to be nurtured and put to use in ways that further the mission and vision of any organization for it to grow and develop. This energy can lift us all to be able to see a bit over the horizon and capture a glimpse of the bright future an organization has.
Next time, I’ll cover a process of implementation and measurement, bringing many hands to one powerful task.
By Geoffrey C. Ammerman, MS Ed., Licensed Psychologist