Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150Your people are your most sustainable competitive advantage. When they robustly and consistently demonstrate your company’s core Principles, they create experiences for your customers that cultivate enduring relationships.

In addition, research confirms the direct linkage between high company performance and high employee engagement. Engagement infuses your company’s actions with vitality, strengthens your competitive advantage, and focuses energy to grow your business. It requires a consistent investment of your time and a regular infusion of new ideas to fuel your people’s energy and enthusiasm. Here are 3 ways to strengthen leadership engagement with your people.

1. Provide a forum to share knowledge and discuss new ideas. Schedule these forum meetings in advance to occur on a regular basis, monthly or quarterly. To get things moving, provide a short status update and then cultivate dialogue – ask what’s working and what can improve. Ensure a cross-functional participation at the forum and keep the number of participants below 10 so that sharing information is comfortable for the group. Assign the evaluation of potentially productive concepts to forum participants and mandate a report at the next meeting or sooner. Offer incentives for ideas that are validated to have improved the company’s growth or profit.

2. Teach your people about your business. Where are your “sweet spots” of operational efficiently; how does your business make money? This strengthens their insight about how your business produces value for your customers and why they buy from you. Help them learn to convert their ideas from the “language of things” (number of hours or items produced, quantity of errors, amount of waste, etc.) into the language of money (increased revenue dollars, reduced cost or inventory dollars, time savings in dollars, etc.). This will help them understand why customers invest in your products and services, and why you choose to make specific investments in your company.

3. Challenge them to transform your business. Get involved with them on a substantive issue. Introduce a new idea or technology that disrupts the status quo and compels a response. Radically accelerate your speed to market or response time. Change the infrastructure, the rules or the flow of information to empower or quicken decision-making. Then, engage them in a planning process to test the transformational concept, and if validated, facilitate their implementation of it.

In what ways are you consistently engaging with your people?

How are you keeping this engagement fresh and relevant for them?

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