Business: Four Strategies For Revitalizing Your Organization, by Man of Faith

This month, we’re sharing a favorite past column from Parvati Magazine emeritus columnist Man of Faith. This post originally appeared in Parvati Magazine’s September 2012 issue.

“Go put creed into your deed.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently, I’ve been researching and developing an exciting new strategy model that expands possibility for leaders seeking to optimize long term value.

It appears that while lip service is given to notions like core purpose, values, and offering employees support and development, at the end of the day, between the discomforting pace of increasing complexity and the compelling thrill of “winning the game” the leader’s focus often boils down to leveraging competitive advantage, expense cutting and short term profit.

As a continuation of my previous article Mastering Employee Engagement, below are four additional strategies to help you create meaning and connection at work – and great resolutions to consider as you get back in gear after the summer season.

1. Model Appreciation and Weave it Into Your Culture

According to a worldwide Towers Watson study, the single highest driver of employee engagement is whether or not workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their well-being. Today, only 40% of workers believe that. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “Why Appreciation Matters So Much,” Tony Schwartz reminds us that all employees need to be praised, honored, and routinely acknowledged for their efforts and achievements. When this acknowledgment comes from a heart-centered place, a deeper connection is made and engagement arises naturally.

2. Build Employee Engagement Into Strategic Planning

The legacy of strategic planning has been disproportionately focused on how to achieve competitive advantage. It takes into consideration market segmentation, political, economic, social and technological trends, competition, internal capability, product line viability and plots a course to a desired future state mapping out key initiatives and resources required. Developing human beings (“human capital”) is a separate function, supported by a separate industry, rarely aligned with strategy.

Strategy and leadership must come together to create real balanced prosperity. One important way you as a leader can improve prosperity, is to align your culture (leadership development, values, purpose, connection) with strategy.

3. Practice Servant Leadership

If the single highest driver of employee engagement is you being genuinely interested and serving the well-being of your employees (according to the Towers Perrin study), how do you do that when the tyranny of the urgent is attacking you with a cacophony of competing agendas? And when we all operate within a cultural paradigm of competitive-adversarial behavior growing from erroneous beliefs of scarcity?

Certainly following the Four Inner Habits of A Successful Leader is a start – to maintain the presence of mind and grounding. Then, we must enable ourselves to undergo a counter-cultural paradigm shift from the guiding question of “how do I get what I need from them” to “how do I really hear what they need from me, and orient myself to support them – from a place of caring”. People feel understood with when you connect to their pain, and inspired when you show them a solution.

4. Serve People’s Authentic Motivation

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Author Daniel Pink, in his latest book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, discovered that 30% of job growth in the future will be “algorithmic” – tasks that follow process and instructions – perfect for people who are extrinsically motivated – by money. The other 70% of job growth will be heuristic – tasks that require the evaluation of possibilities while defining creative solutions. For the heuristic work life of the future, the intrinsically motivated seek inherent satisfaction in the activity itself, valuing freedom, purpose, challenge and well being over money. According to Pink, you can motivate your people by extending 1) autonomy in their jobs, 2) learning opportunities for mastery and 3) a sense of meaning through purpose. These will be the “A” players of the future and always outperform in the long term.