Paint the Picture

24 09 2012

I talked about the importance of commitment in the last post and I wanted to expand on that topic, specifically how to make something relevant and worthwhile. As I stated in that post, if you can’t make something relevant or worthwhile to your employees, you are likely missing their commitment. But that begs the question of how. 

In my experience, most people welcome the opportunity to be engaged in a more meaningful way at work. Even the check-cashers I referred to previously typically have a deeper desire to contribute to something larger than themselves once in a while. Why do you think people cheer so passionately for sports teams? Sure, the diehards are leading the way. But go to any championship city and you’ll find casual and even ambivalent fans cheering just as loud. And for all the talk of a divided America, national pride was in evidence everywhere during the Olympics.

For these folks, be a painter. Use your words, your graphs, your memos, your meetings, whatever works for you, use it to paint the picture of the future you see. Tell them what it looks like and feels like. Then tell them how they, individually and collectively, can get there. If you paint the picture with great passion, with the level of commitment you have to it, you’ll start seeing people line up immediately. 

Now I’m guessing we’ve all had the “pleasure” of working with people who were, shall we say, less than committed to the task at hand. The masks they wore were many: the gossip, the grouch, the empty suit, the suck-up. The list could go on and on but the end result was a person endlessly engaged in meaningless pursuits. Often to the detriment of your company’s goals.

Sadly, this group may never get on board. I hate to write anyone off, but I’ve seen it over and over. Painting a great picture isn’t enough for this group. So take it a step further: make them accountable. It’ll require more management effort, but in the end they’ll either sink or swim. 

Thankfully, this group is rarely in the majority. For the rest, do your best di Vinci impression and earn the commitment you need for success.


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