BUILDING CULTURES THAT INSPIRE, MOTIVATE, AND THRIVE
A Framework for Achieving Results through Values Alignment and Engagement
Howard Stanten MPT ,CPCC
The Three Core Clements of Engagement:
Cognitive Element: Clarity around job roles and expectations
Emotional Element: Enthusiastic involvement with the work and the people involved
Inspirational Element: Strong connection and alignment with the purpose of the work
Engaged employees seek new ways to solve problems and achieve outcomes. They are robustly proactive in working to enhance the customer/client/patient experience. A high-trust culture built around aligned values is the fertile soil from which engagement is cultivated.
Neuro-scientific research teaches us that our capacity to connect positively with others is greatly enhanced if we are in a heightened state of trust. Conversely, fear- states characteristic of low trust environments invoke a flight, fight, or freeze response. Low-trust environments result in behavior geared toward self-preservation. High-trust environments are more likely to result in behaviors that put the needs of the customer/client/patient first.
Clearly defined job roles and performance expectations are essential to the trust building process. Lack of clarity in these areas leads to frustration, uncertainty, and a reactive culture of blame and poor productivity and service. Open and frequent feedback among and between all levels of an organization is essential to creating and sustaining meaningful clarity. Without this building block in place, any attempt to produce a culture that fosters increased engagement will likely fail. It is hard to imagine a culture that produces enthusiastic involvement with the work or alignment with its purpose without an iterative process in place that focuses on role and expectations clarification.
Enthusiastic involvement with the work and people involved begins with the employee’s ability to take personal responsibility for how they show up at work every day. At the individual level, we focus on values clarification and connection; what matters most to people and how to find ways to integrate their values into the work they do. Helping people move past limiting beliefs and perspectives is often a key part of this process. Ninety-five per-cent of executives attending Positive Intelligence lectures at Stanford University conclude that “internal saboteurs” cause significant harm to achieving their potential. Getting clearly connected to one’s own values is a necessary first step to aligning oneself with the values of an organization. An employee engaged with the mission of an organization must first be engaged with him or herself.
Strong connection and alignment with the purpose of the work is created within high trust collaborative cultures of interdependence. Such cultures work on the premise that the answers to an organization’s complex problems can frequently be found within the people working at all levels of an organization. At the group level, our collaborative leadership methodologies provide a facilitated balance of structure and space that allow all voices to be heard. As a result, teams are more positively connected with the action-plans that follow. Time spent on the front-end building trust and creating values alignment results in engagement that produces solutions to complex problems that are effective and sustainable.