Christy Largent

By Christy Largent

Creating Your Engagement Culture – Part 1

Creating Your Engagement Culture – Part 1 150 150 Christy Largent

An Engagement Culture – Good for you, good for your employees and good for your customers

When we think of creating a positive, vibrant, energize, profitable culture, it’s easy to get stuck wondering just exactly what we should be doing.

Over the years, I have found that all the best companies do a few things really well. No matter the industry, I’ve seen a common thread of similarities that I’ve condensed into what I call an Engagement Culture.

Following are 2 of the 5 most common elements of a vibrant Engagement Culture.

With respect to your time, I’ve divided this into 2 separate articles. Today, we’ll look at the first 2 elements – with action steps – so you can be on your way towards creating your best company culture. And next time, I’ll cover the final 3 elements.

1.  A foundation of an Opportunity Mindset™. 

What is an Opportunity Mindset™? I’m glad you asked. It’s a mindset that is generally set towards the positive. This mindset sees problems as opportunities. It looks for the good and expects the best. A culture with this mindset as a set point encourages its employees to roll with the difficulties while getting creative to figure out workarounds.

Part of having an Opportunity Mindset™ is to reward positive behavior. As I was speaking on this one day in Bentonville, Arkansas, one of the plant floor supervisors from Little Debbie’s raised her hand. “Christy, she said in her charming southern accent, “Rather than looking for ways my team is messing up, I go around the factory floor and try to catch ‘em doing something right!” Now that’s the Opportunity Mindset™ in action. Her employees appreciated knowing their supervisor was looking for ways to praise them rather than just discipline them. I love that!

Action steps:

  • Make a point of recognizing the good
  • Always ask for a positive solution whenever someone brings you something negative.
  • Teach your team to “reframe” problems from the negative to the positive.  Instead of saying, “We can’t do that” ask, “What can we do?” or say, “What we can do is…”

Being intentional about setting a foundation with an Opportunity Mindset™ creates a safe environment to learn and grow. Both critical components of a thriving organization.

2.  Provide a strategy and plan for purposeful, productive communication. 

Nothing is more discouraging than to feel not heard. At the beginning of the school year as I was dropping my 6th grader off at school, I just casually mentioned that I wasn’t signing him up for the tennis team for the next few months, as I wanted him to have plenty of time to adjust to his new school. Well, he just blew up! He almost started crying as he said to me, “I love tennis, I want to keep playing tennis, I can’t believe you’re not listening to what I want…you’re not hearing me…”

I think in our heart of hearts when we don’t feel heard at work, inside we are having the same reaction as my little Graham. “You’re not hearing me!” is the cry of our team members when we don’t make sure to create open opportunities for honest communication.

Action steps:

  • Have regular (short) meetings where agendas, goals, and expectations are discussed. Having a time regularly scheduled for open discussion and communication gives everyone an opportunity to get on the same page.
  • Make sure that at the meeting, any new ideas are allowed space to be heard without being shot down by the resident Nelly Negative. In other words, “NO NEGATIVE” in response to new ideas.
  • Set a time, or framework later, where feedback on these things can be given. When giving feedback, make sure to focus on the problem, not the person. Often our judgments will slip in, and instead of being clearly focused on the problem, we turn it to the person.

For example, rather than saying, “There’s no way that project can be finished in time. You’re not considering our workload when you set an impossible time frame.”

Instead, focus on the problem, which is “I’m concerned this project will not meet the deadline due to our heavy current workload. I’d like to discuss your time frame.”

Can you hear the difference? See how a judgment slipped in there the first time? “You’re not considering our workload.” Is a judgment. Instead, clearly express your concern with the problem, and then state what you would prefer. No judgment. Just open discussion.

5 simple elements can make a world of difference. Are you ready to create your own Engagement Culture? Try these first 2 steps and let me know how it’s going. I’d love to hear your results! Check back for the rest of the plan in my next article.

Christy Largent is a positivity expert and professional speaker. She is hired by corporations and associations that want their employees/members to boost morale, increase teamwork and strengthen communication skills. When she’s not speaking or writing, she’s practicing her stand up skills sitting down, driving her 2 kids to tennis and lacrosse events all across the Dallas metroplex. Contact Christy at 530-949-3646 for more information.

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