A story has been told over and over in conversations worldwide of how United States President John Kennedy once visited NASA. He passed a cleaner working away and asked him what his job was. An interesting enough situation for a President to ask someone what they do when it is obvious, however, the cleaner replied ‘My job is to help to put a man on the moon.’ Such Charisma isn’t often seen from a cleaner to a president.
This story has always resonated with me and I have told it many times myself when working with people and organisations. There has been some debate around whether this story is true or not, but what it illustrates is the cleaner’s complete engagement with the aims of NASA, the mission, values and strategy. What if it had been anyone else that Kennedy had spoken to? What sort of answer would he have received? Was everyone at NASA engaged with this same value within the organisation.
The Goals and Values of the organisation are key to setting out the story that will be followed as they set sail to develop the business and grow. Organisations the world over spend hundreds of thousands to develop a mission statement, values and competencies that are a blueprint for a way of working. However everywhere I go in the world I meet with people that don’t really buy into them as they are just words, some people understand what they are and what they mean to the way they work but aren’t really in tune with what they mean for them. The missing link is how they connect with these values on a personal level, how they connect their lives to their work and achieve balance.
Being in tune, engagement, having that Charisma, isn’t something that can be done to people, it is a mindset that is developed by each and every person. If you walk into an office and feel the “buzz” or that great “energy” it isn’t an accident. The place you are visiting is working with individuals in order for them to fully engage and take their business to new places, achieving more and being more productive.
If a holiday company’s goals are to sell as many holidays as possible, and my personal goal is to create wonderful holidays that people remember, I may be working hard but I will not buy into what my company is doing because I don’t value the goals and values and thus won’t reach my true performance potential. The other applies If the holiday company’s goals and values are to create amazing holidays that people will remember and I just want to come into work and do my job, I’m not bothered about their holidays then I’m not part of the company’s bigger picture and won’t be as productive as the people who are, those that have their sense of purpose.
Does your organisation have a buzz of energy that vibrates at the heart of everything you do? Are your Goals, Values and Mission about performance management or performance enhancement?
This is the year of change, build your Fully Engaged Organisation to compliment the bigger brighter future on offer.
Ric Hayden – Learning Cog