Three ways to create a business that buzzes

Do you ever wonder why you’ve tried everything, and yet the people who work in your organisation still don’t seem to feel the buzz? You’re excited by the way your business is going – why aren’t they? You look forward to the annual state of play meeting – they see it as an irritating interruption to their work. You want to ring the bells and celebrate when you land that new contract – they just see more work coming down the line.

Why do you think this might be, and what can you do about it?

The clue as to why one person doesn’t react in the same way as another can usually be found in their mindset: a feeling, mood or attitude they have that the other person doesn’t. What’s your mindset around your business? Here are some likely ones:

  1. Perhaps you started the business yourself – you actually own it. They don’t. That makes a difference to the way you feel about its progress and the wins you make from day to day.
  2. Maybe you are a senior manager – you’re included in the deliberations and high-level conversations that let you know how the business is doing from day to day. They’re down there in the detail and mostly what they see is the hassles.
  3. Or perhaps you’re just one of those people who is so intrinsically motivated that you find satisfaction in just doing a good job, and don’t need much external communication or feedback to get your energy up.

Most people, in trying to find a solution to this issue, will focus on the behaviour they want to change and find a fix for that. People seem unexcited? Throw a party. People not looking forward to the annual meeting? Bring in some lively activities to raise the energy levels. They don’t put out the flags when you bring in a new contract? Bring out the bubbly.

Doesn’t work, does it? That’s because you are only dealing with the tip of the iceberg.

Trying to get behind people’s reactions to their mindsets will give you a clue as to what needs to change in this situation.

Go back to your analysis of the mindsets that mean you take pleasure in the progress of your organisation. How can you replicate some of these feelings for the people who work with you?

  1. You probably can’t actually give everybody a piece of the business (though it’s a thought, and has worked elsewhere – just look at John Lewis), but you could make sure that:
    1. everybody has clear areas for which they are totally and completely accountable.
    2. you give them just enough management that they feel supported without losing that sense of ownership.
    3. you give them masses of positive feedback when they do a good job.
  2. Not everybody can sit in on every senior management meeting – it would be chaos. But you can make sure you:
    1. regularly call your team together and let them know the big picture. What’s going on in the company? Are you on track? What progress do you see and celebrate as a senior management team?
    2. give them a week by week and month by month sense of the progress you are making. Make sure your team hears about all the good things too, and not just once a year.
    3. at the end of the year, forget the motivational activities. Have a truly honest round up of the company’s progress and sincerely thank everyone for the part they have played in creating that success. Then hold the kind of party that people have told you they’d like to have.
  3. Don’t assume you understand people or can naturally relate to their mindset without checking in with them. They are individuals. Meet them regularly and frequently (at least monthly) one on one, and ask them how they are, how they feel about their work, what would motivate them, and how you can help them.

Give generously of your time and attention, and you’ll find people will reward you in turn by becoming fully engaged in your organisation and (almost) as committed to its success as you are!

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