E-couragement: Simple and Difficult

September 17, 2012

“Knowledge is no longer power. Application is the new power.” Rich Schlentz

Last week I was in Central America working with a great group of managers. Our learning sessions were focused on building and fostering an engaging workplace culture. Research clearly demonstrates that engaged organizations, departments, and teams outperform those who are less engaged. My clients get it. Engagement is a smart business strategy. It was during one of our learning events that a manager’s comment became an “Aha” for all the other participants.

We were focused on a couple of engagement tools—building rapport and craving feedback. One participant remarked that these important engagement principles seemed simple, timeless, and fundamental. What’s difficult is our ability to consistently apply them in the workplace. Simple and difficult…now that’s insightful. Let’s look at a few additional simple principles that enhance the level of engagement within a workplace culture, yet are difficult to apply:

  • Listen more and talk less
  • Show interest in others by asking questions about them
  • Recognize the accomplishments or achievements of your coworkers
  • Carve out time to discuss progress with a direct report
  • Pay attention and point out the strengths you see others

What’s the answer to this dilemma? How can you be more effective with applying simple culture shifting principles? Here are a few suggestions which help you to make headway in applying tools so that they become skills and habits:

  1. Focus on one principle at a time. Attempting too many improvements at once will lower your chances of sustaining long-term change.
  2. Write down the one area you wish to improve. What is it that you want to do better of different? Place this written action statement in a highly visible place.
  3. Tell someone your intention. Let a trusted colleague know about your goal to apply a particular engagement principle and check in periodically to discuss your progress or challenges.
  4. Hire a coach. Invest in your own growth and development. Get the support you deserve when it comes to creating new habits that allow you to be more effective.

Simple and difficult. Interesting insight from my clients. Life is that way. Let’s recognize that highly successful people don’t necessarily know more than you. Perhaps they’ve figured out how to apply more than you. Knowledge is no longer power—application is the new power. Here’s to you becoming more successful by applying simple engagement principles in your life and work.

Leave your comments: What has helped you be more successful in applying simple engagement principles in your workplace?

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4 Responses to “E-couragement: Simple and Difficult”

  1. Great advice, Rich! Item #1 really hits home with me. I always seem to try to do too much at one time. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who wrote down 12 virtues and focused on one per month. Over the course of one year, he improved his life in all of those areas. Thanks, brother!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts David (Dawg). Yes, perhaps in this case, less is more. Keep keepin’ on brother…

  3. Ouch…While reading this I felt some conviction! Basically what I hear resonating within myself is… “It’s not what you know, it’s what you do. What are you doing with what you know?”

    Thanks for stepping on my toes this morning Rich! The message came right on time as always!

    *Also… I recognize a little Carnegie in there! 🙂

  4. JC, I admire your willingness to be a student. That’s part of your character and it makes you a good leader. Carnegie’s timeless principles work! Thanks for your support my friend…

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