2.08.2013

A CEO’s View of Top 5 Employee Engagement Drivers Part 3: People Matter

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Arthur Conan Doyle

The leaders at ACME demonstrate that people are important to the success of the organization

If you have been following my earlier posts two of the most important aspects of a motivated and engaged culture are a motivating vision and a sense that the work you are doing is taking you on a path you want to be on.

They are the core of most successful organizations. However they are not enough. As CEOs, and leaders, we can get up and exhort our people to see the possibility of some glorious future but much to our disappointment, few, if any, of those speeches become our legacy.

It is not just the big things that we have to worry about. People pay attention to the little things. In fact most of the stories that your people will tell about you, and your culture, will be of small interactions and events that helped them form an opinion on what you think is truly important.

To truly engage people you not only have to give them a vision – they also have to believe you see them as a person, not just a number.

An unfortunate, and all too common, phrase around boardroom tables is “they should just be happy to have a paycheck." Unfortunately that just does not cut it. Even if you smile and say all the right things people are very good at reading authentic and inauthentic behaviors.

It is like the old saying “how someone treats the waiter tells you what they are really like.” Your people watch everything you do – be it opening a door for them, saying “hello” when you walk by or remembering someone’s birthday. This helps frame the culture that exists in the company.

If you want to build a place that is truly legendary then it needs to marry two equally difficult things. A unique and compelling vision that ties into people’s own career journeys along with an individual commitment to treat each person on that journey as a person – not a human resource.

Do that and you will have a place where people will willingly give up sleep, money and other opportunities to help you deliver on your vision.

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