Does this sound like your organization?
- Lack of creativity
- Talk about being ‘down’
- People ‘dragging their butts’
- Lack of confidence
- Performance shortfalls
- Lack of enthusiasm
- High turnover
- Little fun
If you can see many of these symptoms in yourself, your division, or your company you may have an organization that is drained of energy and needs to be recharged.
Energy loss happens in every organization. It can be the result of any number of events or trends. Perhaps you find some in your recent past:
- Disappointing results in spite of good effort
- A sense of lack of direction for the organization, a division or yourself
- High degree of effort exerted over an extended period
- A sense that things are out of control
- Conflicts within the organization
- Loss of a major source of business
- Little recognition or gratitude for accomplishments
Like your cell phone, your organization needs regular recharging. Batteries will run down if they are used without taking time to gather energy from an outside source. So do people. A dead battery may be inconvenient, but the consequences of run down people are much more severe.
When energy is depleted people can lose their sense of purpose and may feel that they are not making a significant contribution.
Organizations can become reactive instead of proactive. Errors and missed opportunities increase. Individual effort becomes less effective, efficiency falls, business can be lost and financial losses occur. Those people, who bring the most to the organization, quit and move to other positions.
It is a natural response to encourage people to achieve more, to push them to get better and more results. But, this can be futile. You cannot create more energy by trying to take energy out. So what can you do? Think about how you recharge batteries and apply the same principles to energizing your people.
1. Connect them to a source of positive energy.
- On a daily basis expect every manager to express something positive to each employee about their work.
- Bring teams together to recall past successes and celebrate the strengths that made it all happen. Help them see the sum of the individual knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences, which makes them a powerful team.
2. Disconnect them from what drains them.
- Offer some rest and recreation. People need time to take their minds off work to refresh their thinking powers.
- Encourage people to take vacations and to pursue activities that provide pure pleasure.
- Recommend they leave their communications devices at home; so they are not tempted to call in. Suggest they free themselves from being governed by the clock and become more spontaneous by leaving their watches as well.
3. Organize events or retreats, which emphasize fun, getting to know each other, teambuilding and celebration of accomplishments.
- Create a charity event in which people work together to raise money or do good work.
- Acknowledge enthusiastic participants – have them present the cheque, get a photo published in the local newspaper, or buy an ad thanking them for their efforts.
4. Demonstrate appreciation for effort and accomplishment. Do it publicly. A token reward that shows your sincere appreciation has greater value than its price.
5. Recreate your mission and vision, collaboratively, and share it with everyone. Be sure to outline how everyone will benefit when the new future is accomplished.
The president of a company was concerned. Their largest single contract had been lost to their toughest competitor. He recognized the need for the organization to be recharged with self-confidence and energy. I facilitated a retreat during which the leaders looked back beyond the recent disappointment to their many positive accomplishments. They listed their individual contributions and what they drew upon, from within, to do their part. These were posted on the walls and, as each person read them out to the team, others added strengths to that list. Their confidence grew as they recognized the remarkable talents within the team. Subsequently, they took a much larger contract out of the hands of that same, tough competitor.
These activities sound like fun, and they are. But, more than that, they recharge your organization. Innovation increases. People discover and pursue greater opportunities. They walk and talk with energy. They get even better results. And everyone thrives, the organization, every employee and you, their leader.