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LEADERSHIP IS A PROCESS OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE, WHICH MAXIMISES THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A SHARED GOAL.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
How many leaders understand the importance of communicating with employees about the connection between their work and their company’s mission?
As one of our client’s reminded us recently: "I always think of the old story about a man who was walking along a road and saw two men moving bricks. 'What are you doing?' he asks. One worker says 'I'm moving bricks from this side of the road to the other.' Another says, 'I'm building a cathedral.'"
As a leader, you have to find ways to make sure people in your organisation know exactly how their work connects to the broader mission of the organisation. They need to know: How is this making our organisation better? "
A lot of the time, people are not sure how their work contributes to the larger whole. Leaders can provide the context.
Keep in mind that most people have some desire to make a difference. Here are three concrete ways to make sure your company’s employees understand how their work is making an impact:
Formalise it. Don't just develop performance objectives with a list of tasks and outputs. Incorporate the mission-connection into your employees' performance plans by including a link to the results your company delivers.
Celebrate success. It's easy to become so wrapped up in the day-to-day rush of activities or the next big challenge that we forget to recognise the victories already secured and how they've contributed to the mission. Don't make that mistake. This is about more than the annual employee awards programme and spot awards. It's about personal e-mails or phone calls. It's about making an unscripted appearance at a team meeting to thank everyone for getting closer to the goal. It's about a sincere expression of gratitude.
Make it a habit. 'One and done' will not suffice. As a general rule of thumb, you'll need to communicate your message connecting employees to the mission at least seven times before it begins to stick.