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From Carriages to Locomotives

How to Harness your Team to Pull Together

There is little doubt that an organisation that manages to motivate its employees to pull their weight together is going to

achieve its goals better. At the same time there is a variety of opinions on how to achieve this.

Some invest in welfare, in training, rely on leadership skills - all are legitimate and effective to varying degrees, but nothing will motivate employees like making them feel as true partners.

And true partnership requires inclusion and transparency, and herein lies the challenge - organisations tend to keep things behind closed doors.

I will not argue that all the organisational information should be shared freely. Some of it is and should remain confidential but employees can – and should – be included in the most important elements of the organisation:

  • Values and culture

  • Development direction

  • Execution responsibility

When companies get to define these things thy tend to assign the first of the above to a committee, the second to consultants, and the last to the top executives. The rank and file are only informed about the results, sometime (in case of values anyway) in the form of a statement on the company website.

And when you are excluded from a process you have very little commitment to its success.

The alternative I propose is to create a process in which the organisational values and culture are being explored and defined bottom-up, the development direction is being agreed in a series of workshops that harnesses the crowd-wisdom inside the organisation, and the execution responsibility lies with the people who are best equipped for it, not those who have the “right” titles.

Making a paradigm shift from a top-down approach to an inclusive one is not easy, but essential, especially in an era where millennials are becoming the backbone of organisations. Only those who adapt will thrive.

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