A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON WORK & ENGAGEMENT

Do we treat people like a one-night stand or do we show the level of commitment we would give someone we want to marry? And once we marry, do we work at keeping the relationship alive, or do we take each other for granted?

I can’t think of many people who don’t want to love what they do and feel they matter. On the other hand, we hear of the difficulties organisations have in engaging their people.

So I thought I’d have some fun and draw a parallel between work and love to identify the ingredients that can help unlock engagement. Let me know what you think 🙂

“Luck – when preparation meets opportunity.”

Just as you are unlikely to meet Mr or Miss Right if you don’t make an effort to go out and meet anyone; a job isn’t going to land in your lap if you do nothing.

When you apply for a job, do you know what you want? Do you know what skills, talents and interests you have? Do you know where and how you can best add value? Or are you so desperate you’re just looking for something that pays the bills? Likewise, when you date someone, instead of looking at the entire list of criteria they should possess, have you taken a close look at yourself to see what you bring to a relationship?

Oh how exciting, someone wants me, they’ve asked me for an interview/date.

The question itself seems to validate someone’s worth. Someone noticed them. Hope rekindles.

And then the panic sets in. What questions will they ask me? What should I wear? Am I ready? All along masking the underlying question – am I good enough, will I be accepted?

So you plough through endless blogs and articles, studying the dos and don’ts, making mental notes of what to say and not to say, all along contorting yourself into a bag of knots.

The bigger question is – if you haven’t accepted yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?

It’s fine (for now)

Have you ever known anyone who is dating someone who they’re not planning on marrying? Have you ever heard anyone accept a job offer saying they’ll look for something else? It begs the question – what’s the point? Is the other person aware of the lack of intention or are they investing in something they hope will lead somewhere?

It’s not in what you say; it’s in what you do.

Do we have all experienced people who have promised the world, but have they come through? Are they a person of their word or do they come up with platitudes and countless apologies while still showing the same behaviours?

As human beings we want to believe what people say, believe in them and that this time it’s different. And yet we keep experiencing the same letdowns. At some point, one needs to realise the common denominator to these disappointments is ourselves. Are we discerning enough? Do we look for consistencies between what a person says and does? Do we have the courage and belief in ourselves, what we stand for and represent to say ‘this isn’t for me’ and look for what is right?

Many people seem to behave like one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters – so eager to fit into the glass slipper; they’ll contort themselves into all kind of shapes and sizes to fit in and be accepted. But after a while, those feet will hurt – just as the pain of not being oneself will one day become too hard to bear. So if you want engagement, use the four-letter word rarely uttered in the workplace – love.

COMPANY CULTURE STARTS WITH YOU

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Ask a person the reason they love to travel, and often they say to experience different cultures. Human beings seem to be intrigued by the social norms and ways of living of their fellow man in different cities and villages around the world. Having the experience and...

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FIND YOUR HARMONY – UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL

finding your inner harmony

Imagine a violin – its beautiful lines, the warmth of its colour, the depth of its lacquer, the tactile feel of the wood. Such a work of craftsmanship, and yet, the beauty of the violin is wasted if hidden, nestling in its velvet lined case. Its true beauty comes when it is picked up, brought in to the light, balanced in hand, tuned and the bow kisses the strings creating pure harmonies. An exquisite amplification and showcase of the player’s unique skill and technique.

This is a simple allegory for human potential, looking at our talents that, like the violin, are hidden until we pick them up and employ them. Talents need to be tuned, artfully brought out and harmonised for the myriad of possible repertoires and circumstances.

The other beautiful analogy of the violin, or any other musical instrument, is it can play many tunes, many harmonies, in solo, as a duet or leading an orchestra, both syncing and syncopating the melody and harmony to the others. The same is true of us, applying our talents to personal goals, relationships, team environments and wider organisational missions, listening to the music and tuning in.

Some pieces of music are better suited to some instruments than others – and that’s ok. You don’t see a violinist or flautist upset because a part of the composition doesn’t include their instrument at that moment. Musicians understand and love the beauty and harmony of the piece, and are happy to play their role in weaving it together. They trust the conductor, each other and themselves to do the piece justice, to woo the audience and transcend them to another place, filling them with the emotions the composer intended.

Now consider an organisation, built on great values, with a shared mission and goals. Each team member needs to play in harmony for the organisation to achieve. An environment where each person is knowing, confident and passionate about their particular talents and how they mesh with others to create beauty and harmony. Unusual words in an organisational framework, and yet, it is music to our ears when we hear positive feedback on our work, when we satisfy our customers, when we have content employees, when our shareholders are happy.

So be like the great conductors and get your orchestra to play in harmony. Lead the way in doing things differently.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

inSight - Salty not Sweet

3 + 15 =

Success in succession

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3 SECRETS OF TOP TALENT

In any organisation these days, we come across a myriad of titles. But when one breaks it down, what are titles really all about? Do they help us in being better? It seems to me that sometimes, a title is a mask and stands in the way of us being our best.

For simplicity’s sake, imagine two people in an organisation, each responsible for their own area but ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of the organisation. And now imagine one of them is missing the ball on something.

I recently observed this and was fascinated by two hugely different outcomes when adopting two opposing outlooks. In the first instance, one of the colleagues was willing to allow the other to trip up. And yet, when she adopted the perspective of a fellow human as opposed to a colleague with a title, she took on an entirely different stance, one of collaboration, empathy and all hands on deck.

Somewhere along the line, we have created a belief system within organisations and ourselves that, in order to make it to the top, we have to be guarded, tough and use sharp elbows – for what end really I have no clue, since getting to the top in that manner would be very lonely indeed.

So, adopting this vein of thinking, one would like to believe that the people at the top are mean, ruthless and generally not very nice.

The good news is that this is not the case. In profiling some of the best talent from around the world, there were three elements that were consistently present amongst those who companies wanted to have as part of their team:

1. They are great human beings – possessing strength of character, commitment and integrity, they have a desire and ability to grow and guide people, working with and through others.

2. They love what they do – doing something which resonates with a deep part of who they are, something they are interested in, engaged with and committed to.

3. They all had a mentor in some way shape or form at some point in their life and/or career that imparted wisdom and guidance.

There are some positive shifts taking place, with a call to basic and traditional values of honour, integrity, respect, etc. A time when people want to treat others and be treated as human beings as opposed to numbers. Where, to bring out the best in others and ourselves, we must be true to who we are as human beings as opposed to hiding behind some title.

We are in a time when we can create positive changes in our ‘corporate’ experiences. An opportunity to instil a strong value set within our companies that resonate with and embody members of the organisation, enabling them to tap into who they truly are instead of resorting to titles for position and power. A time when companies live human values as opposed to a string of words and niceties that beef up a website or other corporate collateral. An opportunity to shape our organisations to create real value with every interaction and along the value chain.

It will be interesting to see the progress of our students, our future leaders, who are currently watching the debacle we are going through.  They are a key element since they will be demanding more from the companies they will be choosing to work for.  And if they don’t find the right value set, I hope they will have the courage, determination and network to create their own new cultures which will resonate far more deeply with the customers they will have set up to serve.

Headhunter turned talent spotter, Deborah creates the connect between people of character and companies with principles. The Founder of AMANI™, she is an advocate for business being a force for good, vested in the impact business has in both economic and social terms across various strata of society.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

inSight - Salty not Sweet

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COMPANY CULTURE STARTS WITH YOU

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MONDAY MORNING BLUES

Have you heard of people not looking forward to going to work on Monday and dreading the week ahead?

It’s quite extraordinary really, especially when you consider that at one point these same people were happy to get the job, for I cannot think of one person who was disappointed to find employment. And yet, some time down the line, maybe weeks, months or even years, the joy of work seems to elude us.

So what happens? Making things simple, let’s look at three main scenarios:

1. You were excellent at what you did and you got promoted

One would think this is a good thing. However oftentimes, people are promoted either out of their core competence or into a role that eliminates an essential element that brought them great satisfaction. We often see this with sales people who are promoted to a managerial role for instance, and find themselves carrying out administrative duties as opposed to dealing with clients. In effect, the ingredient that brought them success is the one which gets greatly reduced, and in some cases even removed.

2. You aspired for a role and someone else is hired from the outside

There you are, working hard and delivering for the company. You love the company, believe in what you are doing, and want to grow and advance. You are aiming for a role, believing that with hard work, dedication and results, you will be promoted. The next thing you know, you find out someone was hired into the position, in effect wiping out the opportunity for you to grow to the next level. This is extremely demotivating, and you find yourself increasingly disillusioned and your job, which was once a source of inspiration, becomes a have-to.

3. Perception versus reality

We’ve heard it many times over – you thought you wanted to work with this company, in that industry, or to have that title. But when you get there you find yourself saying ‘is that it?’ feeling that sense of emptiness or disillusionment, breaking of the perception of what you wanted to the reality of experiencing it.

So how do we rectify this?

The truth is, there is a great difference between being employed and being engaged, and enhanced employee engagement is at the core of successful organisations. Remember, you spend at least a third of your waking life at work, so if you do not enjoy what you are doing, or are not happy about certain aspects, you had better start asking yourself some great questions on how to shift the situation.

What can you do to avoid the three scenarios above?

Employers – find out your employees’ innate talent, interests and aspirations, and hire people that are in-line with your corporate culture.

One of the factors that influences employee turnover is cultural mismatch. Regardless of how desperate you may be to fill a role, it is worth getting it right first time. Otherwise you have a great chance of having to rectify the issues that may arise from a mis-hire and you will have to go through the entire process again some months down the line.

To keep in touch with your employees’ aspirations, many companies these days have formal reviews. Unfortunately in some cases, these become part of the administrative process with much time passing between one formal review and the next. Just like with New Year’s resolutions and other goal setting exercises, the less time you review where you are heading, the less likely you are to reach it. A partnership between leader and employee should be fostered, creating an environment of openness and dialogue.

The safer you create the environment for people to open up, express themselves and be given opportunities to expand, the greater the level of trust and engagement.

Everyone – now is a good time to start exploring and understanding what your strengths are and to be honest about them. We sometimes act like Cinderella’s ugly sisters, trying to squeeze ourselves into a shoe that does not fit. We are all aware of financial pressures that tend to place even greater stress on our job search, but bear in mind that the probability of you having to go through the process again some months down the line will be greatly enhanced if you are not honest with yourself. So ask yourself what you enjoy in your work, what you are great at and share them. Take a genuine interest in the organisation and find out what aspects of the company draw you the most. This will help you carve your path. Yes, most organisations have systems in place to develop talent and look after their human resources, but they cannot help you if you do not know who and what you are, and what you would like to become.

So before you embark on your new week, take a moment to reflect on how you fit into the particular tapestry that formulates your unique work community and have a great week!


The creator of AMANI™, Deborah has profiled many of the world’s top talent, identifying the secrets to their success as both business people and human beings. She connects human and financial capital to create economic and social value across various strata of society.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

inSight - Salty not Sweet

12 + 13 =

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BANISH LIMITING BELIEFS

A friend of mine shared an anecdote of a time when someone asked him what his new year’s wish was, to which he answered ‘for there to be a year with no wars, no hunger and no misery’. She laughed at him, saying he was a fool asking for too much.

We have much to answer for in the beliefs we hold and the possibilities. Imagine for a moment someone a hundred years ago said “I want to go to the moon”. Suffice to say, he would have been laughed at, and if she were a woman, even more so. And yet, it was possible, it did happen. So would we not be better thinking how to make something possible as opposed to treading on ideals and hopes, dreams and desires?

Within each one of us, lies a part that wishes for a better world, for the removal of injustice, for the cessation of cruelty, poverty and hunger, and indeed, a world full of peace and a better way of life. So can we stop ourselves from stopping others striving for their ideals? Putting out their light so that we don’t feel bad about ourselves? Can we encourage people to pursue their ideals as opposed to telling them to be realistic? And dare we own up to what our own heart’s desire truly is and strive for it?

What is realistic? Back in the dark ages, it wasn’t realistic to have light or running water. It also wasn’t realistic to have planes, trains and automobiles. And yet, that is the reality we have today.

We should encourage ourselves and those around us to speak about our dreams, our ambitions, and to create an environment where it is safe to dream and to pursue them, to realise them in thought and turn them into a reality. We say a problem shared is a problem halved  I say that a dream shared is a dream doubled. Only in that way can we shape a new reality, for ourselves and those around us, something I believe is one of the things many people wish for.

 

 

Deborah has profiled many of the world’s top talent, identifying the secrets to their success as both business people and human beings. She challenges the way people think, engaging their talents, fulfilling their aspirations and positively impacting the world around them.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

inSight - Salty not Sweet

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