This May, HueLife had the opportunity to exhibit at the PENworks 2019 conference. We posed a question at our booth for attendees to suggest their ideas: What are specific ways we can engage people to achieve excellence?  We were excited to see how many people were willing to participate in answering this important question! Below is a compilation of answers from participants as where they see ways to engage people to achieve excellence:

1. Honor every voice

People need to be heard, understood and accepted. Honoring every voice does not only mean, “I hear you.” Try adding, “I am curious, what do you have in mind?”

2. Fun

Having fun and engaging in play is one way to inspire human connection and creativity. There is abundant research that supports “play” as a concept for both creativity and a tool for enhancing relationships in group settings.

3. Connect personal “Why” with an organization’s mission

A personal connection to the mission and organization’s purpose is critical. If your employees don’t care what that mission/purpose is and what that means to them, chances are they don’t fit. Find those who care and keep them there.

4. Give individuals and teams autonomy, even with failure (support/encourage)

Failing does not mean being sloppy, not paying attention, or having an excuse for poor planning and lack of judgment. It does mean testing new ideas, new ways of doing things or thinking that ultimately involve risk!

5. The right tools

When people don’t have the right tools, they cannot do their jobs. Processes, methods and techniques are all critical and often overlooked tools that can be learned to achieve excellence. Tools to enhance understanding, engagement and critical thinking are vital for innovation. Of course, our favorites are Insights Discovery personality assessment and ToP Methods.

6. Clear positive vision

Visionary thinking is rare, most people operate in the here and now. Leader’s must take responsibility to continue to remind and communicate the organization’s vision to employees so they can see themselves making the vision a reality. A proven way to make this happen is to create a shared vision with everyone contributes and see themselves reflected. Once it comes from within, it’s a lot easier to remind and communicate.

7. Build relationships / human connections

Human connections are the essence of every social network, including our work environments. The use of tools like Insights Discovery combined with communication techniques, help people gain the needed depth of understanding of self and others so misunderstandings and can be avoided.

8. Refer to values consistently and authentically

We often refer to values as though it is something for others to be aware of and follow. If you are acting in contradiction with the organization’s values, don’t expect others to act differently. The only way to really find out is to ask, evaluate, and reflect. List the values and ask your employees for specific examples of when and how these values are present or not, in the organization. Once specific examples are identified, work on a course correction to show commitment to the values.

9. Role model: It’s the Managers

“People don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.” The most recent business research reveals that the relationship between middle managers and employees is responsible for the greatest impact on every meaningful measure of organizational effectiveness. It’s the managers who set the tone for employees to move towards excellence (asking questions, being curious, trying new things), towards status quo (refusing to add more to their plate, resisting new things), or sabotage (asking questions, spreading misinformation, undermining others). Managers need to be fully included in the company’s big picture and be given the training, tools, and freedom to execute.

10. Just ask

“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand” Confucius. Involve your employees in all aspects of the organization, not only in problem-solving, solution building or process improvements. When they feel that they matter and their ideas are valued, they will think and act in the interest of the employer, they will strive for excellence and prove their worth/value to you!