Imagine sitting down with your team, 6 months from now.
You are happy with the direction that your organization is going. As you look around, you notice:
Are you concerned it's not possible in your workplace?
Perhaps you are wondering how you can get to that point in the next six months. What needs to happen to get you from where you are now to where you want to be?
Oh but it is!
Instantly, your mind is searching for options, answers, new ways of addressing old challenges, something that you haven’t already tried.
You know that yesterday’s solutions won’t do. You’ve become openly, intentionally curious about what could be. Now, imagine helping all of your team members to embrace their inherent curiosity - and doing so in an intentional manner. Consider what will be different in your organization if everyone is openly curious, willing to explore and be patient with others as they are doing the same. That is the kind of environment that breeds magnetic cultures.
It is intentional curiosity that creates cultures that flourish.
You need to get intentionally curious
Curiosity is the lifeblood that moves you along the continuum from toxic to magnetic workplaces. Instead of indifference, curiosity is shown when people care about your thoughts and ideas. They are responsive to what you are saying and feeling. Your co-workers are genuinely interested in what you’ve got to say. They may not agree with everything, but they give you their attention and respect and hear you out.
Most think of curiosity as a desire to learn or know about someone or something. This definition falls short of what is needed to pull people and teams along the continuum from toxic to tolerable to magnetic workplaces. Curiosity is critical in a magnetic environment. It is not a casual act that is thrown in for fun.
So why not just all be more curious?
Becoming intentionally curious sounds simple enough right? It’s kind of like believing communication with others should be easy. After all, we all have the ability to speak and listen and yet we often end up in conflict with one another. Communication should be easy … shouldn’t it? And, of course, it’s not. Getting intentionally curious is equally difficult.
Notice that we’ve used the word intentional in front of curiosity several times. That’s because this kind of curiosity is purposeful and directed.
Intentional curiosity is a process.
Here is how you can get more intentionally curious
Practicing intentional curiosity is not asking a single question. Intentional curiosity happens over time, between people and teams. As people ask questions, search and inquire, the depth and breadth of what they are exploring expands.
Curiosity helps to develop stronger relationships: When you get to know someone better, whether you like them or not, you have more respect for them and have an easier time working with them. More than understanding how things work and what we can do to make them work better, intentional curiosity centers on relationships.
However, this is where it gets tricky!
Make it real for your workplace
Think back to a time when you were curious and acting on your curiosity backfired. Many of us have held back on sharing our ideas because it felt risky to put our idea into the group. Or we’ve not volunteered to take on a new role because we weren’t sure what to expect. Let's be honest. It often feels safer to stick with what we know.
It feels safer to stay inside our comfort zones. We know what to expect and know how to handle things. Even if it’s not comfortable, we tolerate it, because it is what we know.
Heads up: It will be a bit uncomfortable
Any time we are asked to stretch outside of that zone, we get scared. It is in our DNA to respond with a fight, flight or freeze mentality. It’s hardwired into our body. It is this innate self-preservation that makes us resist being intentionally curious.
But…..Curiosity helps to develop stronger relationships. It’s these stronger relationships that develop stronger teams, magnetic teams.
3 steps for creating a magnetic workplace
So, how do you practice intentional curiosity?
Are you ready to go on a journey to create a magnetic workplace?
These are not 3 easy steps, but we have faith in your ability to make life better for yourself and the people you work with.
Remember when you were dreaming about this ideal earlier? We talked about what would be different 6 months from now. Ultimately, to get there, your goal will be to gain a commitment from everyone on your team or at least almost everyone. When you do that, you’ll get to that vision 6 months from now.
What's your next step?
Now that you've read this, what will you do about it? We'd love to hear from you. What step are you going to take for taking responsibility for creating an engaged workplace?
Make a note below.
THESE ARE THE 4 REASONS WHY YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR CREATING AN ENGAGED WORKPLACE AND 4 WAYS HOW TO DO IT
Alex stretched out letting the best dream ever slowly fade away. Opening one eye, Alex looked at the clock. It was 7:35 a.m.! What happened? The alarm must not have gone off. Now there was only a half hour to get ready and get to work!
Alex quickly threw the covers back and ran for the bathroom thinking, “This has got to be the quickest shower ever. I don’t want to be late.”
Five minutes later Alex was in the kitchen, a piece of toast with peanut butter in hand and a glass of orange juice on the counter. Five minutes after that Alex was grabbing a briefcase and car keys and headed for the door.
As Alex was locking the apartment door, Gerry from across hall commented, “You seem to be in a hurry.”.
“I am,” Alex replied. “I’m late for work.”
“Oh,” Gerry said, a puzzled look crossing his face. “I didn’t know you worked on Saturday.”
Alex’s mouth dropped open in shock. That’s why the alarm didn’t ring this morning! Turning back around, Alex opened the door, disappointed. There would be no going to work today!
Are you one of the engaged or disengaged people at work?
Have you ever felt as excited as Alex to go to work? Do you have employees or co-workers that are that eager to be at work? If you’re like us, you’ve rarely heard Alex’s story of someone so engaged in their job. That’s because, in most organizations, employees don’t want to be there. The “technical” term for that is disengagement. Let us explain.
The engagement research is clear
For the most part, workers are dissatisfied with their jobs, feeling under-appreciated and not working in their areas of strength most of the time. The majority – 55% to be exact – are simply putting in the time required to claim their pay cheque.
Worse, 17% of any given workforce is actively disengaged from their work. That means that only 28% of an average team is actively engaged in their work.
Think about that. Only three out of 10 members on a team are actively engaged in the work of their organization. Are you one of the three?
Engaged people enjoy their work.
We spend A LOT of time at work. Do you know how much time?
Assuming a 40 hour work week, eight hours of sleep per night and a conservative two hours per day for getting ready for work as well as commuting to and from work, we spend 45% of our waking hours in service to the businesses and organizations we work in. That’s a significant chunk of our life on a weekly basis. Surely we want that time to be at least somewhat enjoyable?
However, the reality is for most people, that the majority of our time at work is not enjoyable. For many, it is bearable at best and painful at worst.
Engaged people create engaged workplaces
Organizations, through their people, are responsible for creating workplace cultures that draw people to them. This type of workplace, a magnetic workplace, takes time and effort to create. That’s probably why you are reading this blog because you want to do that.
Again, we all know that workplaces are rarely magnetic – spaces where people, like Alex, can’t wait to go. In fact, in many instances, workplaces are barely tolerated by the employees who work there. There are exceptions to this generalization – Wegmans Food Markets, Atlassian, Google, WL Gore and Kimpton Hotels are a few examples – but they are the exceptions.
Engagement starts with one person - that could be you!
But wait a minute. What if your organization could grow that 3 to a 5 or 7. Imagine that the majority of your employees are actually engaged, enthusiastic, hopeful. When you take responsibility for creating an environment like that, here’s what would happen, you’d create a magnetic work environment, and the results would be astounding.
The reasons why you need to take responsibility for creating an engaged workplace
If you took responsibility for creating an engaged workplace, we predict you will notice these 4 powerful results:
The 4 ways you can take responsibility for creating engagement
You may be thinking that this is going to be difficult. It doesn’t have to be, but it will take effort and time. How do you exchange a barely tolerable workplace for one where people are drawn to it? You make the shift by realizing that the change begins with you. To be a catalyst for change, you need to be the one to take the first step and do as Gandhi suggests, be the change you wish to see in your organization. That happens when:
In our work with organizations and the people in them, we’ve discovered that these core concepts are crucial if you want to establish and maintain a magnetic workplace. In fact, we’ve made this our life’s work.
Learn more about how you can take responsibility for creating a magnetic workplace
At this point, you are probably interested in learning more. Click each of the links to continue exploring.
Articles by Bill Scott & Kathy Archer
Sometimes the articles are written collaboratively. Other times, it's just one of us putting fingers to keyboard. We'll try to remember to tell you.