At RTC, we focus on making our clients visible to the world. Our program, which typically results in a book product, is actually designed to help clients see a new version of themselves and then shift into that new paradigm of who they are over the course of our work together. As with our clients, our staff are constantly pushed to find their own identity, make choices that are in alignment with their best version of themselves, and ultimately, find their space in the world as someone who makes a difference.
There are a number of key ways in which we intentionally try to activate our employees and, as the Delivering Happiness team phrases it, “gently nudge” them into that most amazing version of who they are and who they want to be.
Here’s the secret sauce:
- Every few months, ask your staff what they love about their work and what they want more of in their life. LISTEN to their response. See where the energy goes, keep their response in mind, and fit them with appropriate opportunities as you progress the business.
- Every few months, ask them what they are not doing that they wish they were. LISTEN to their response. See where the energy goes, keep their response in mind, and fit them with appropriate opportunities as you progress the business.
- Every few months, ask your staff what part of their jobs they dislike—then either find someone else (who loves it) to do that work or encourage that person to find and train someone else (who loves it and is great at it) to do it.
- Create a place where people can share their victories and excitement, and where they can encourage and support other people’s victories and passions. We use an internal Facebook page called the RTC break room, and it has been invaluable at connecting people where they love to hang out but previously weren’t interacting with work associates.
- Hold people accountable and get rid of your C players. As executive coach, Bruce Hodes puts it in his book Front Line Heroes: you have to be a team of A and B players. When people see that C players are acceptable, they underperform. When they realize that they are part of an A and B team, they all want to be A’s. Read more about the ABC process from CMI.
- Reward your team by showing you care. Care means supporting their passion projects at work so they eventually become paid projects. David, our VP, loves photography and documentary filmmaking (he produced some big work in LA before coming back to RTC), and he’s fantastic at both. We just inexpensively financed his making of an RTC demo reel so he can sell that portion of our business and build a new division of the company that not only extends our mission but supports his talent and passion, while also generating new revenue. We had him direct that demo at a client and product we’re invested in, so what he created will be a marketing piece for a book we’re working on as well. So for our relatively small investment, we’ve produced a marketing piece for our company as a whole, a marketing piece for a new service we’re offering, a marketing piece for a single book project, and we’ve activated David’s passion. Quadruple win!
- Build your business around your people, not the other way around. Yes, you must have systems, but there is also amazing room for flexibility. Rather than trying to change people into what you need them to be, take your star employees and build around them. Help them find their identity within your organization and then help them soar. Not only will they create amazing new work and processes, they will also be a mouthpiece for the company. People who love what they do and where they do it talk about it.