Recently I attended the CIPD Festival of Work where I listened to, and thoroughly enjoyed, a number of presentations discussing a huge range of amazing initiatives, all of which could be beneficial in some way to pretty much any individual working in any working environment. There’s so much great stuff out there.
But one area of concern kept coming up from the audience at each presentation.
Illustrated by questions such as:
‘This all sounds great, but how do you get the leadership team to support it?’
‘I love the concept but what if the culture from the top of our organisation is in conflict with what we’d be communicating with this initiative?’
‘How do you create an environment where colleagues feel they have permission and can take time to make use of the support that we provide from them’.
We hear similar questions when discussing our work with potential partners and we have a simple suggestion.
Which is that, in order to get behind initiatives, senior leaders need to fully understand them but, even more importantly, they need to experience the full benefits for themselves.
Not hear about what can be achieved, although lots of data to illustrate this doesn’t hurt, they need exposure to the full emotional experience.
For us, implementing this is fairly straightforward.
Our brief is to help individuals improve their wellbeing and performance which includes improving the balance between work and life, fitting activity into a busy schedule, sleeping better, stressing less and generally feeling more proactive, positive and successful through every week.
Under these headline areas we like to think we can offer something for everyone.
Actually, we know we can because we’ve yet to see anyone score 100% on our healthy habits self-assessment tool which we use to shape the content of our programmes. So, we can be sure there’s always some element of health and happiness that everyone would like to improve at any given moment.
We also deliver our work in a very time efficient way with a few targeted touch points with each leader enough to make the impact they appreciate, benefit from, are excited by and want to shout about.
So, we’re lucky in that our programmes can fit into, and add value to, even the busiest of leaders’ schedule.
Once they’ve been through the programme, we find that not only do leaders buy into it, they actively want to promote it.
They want as many people as possible in their teams and organisation to experience the benefits of the new way of running their schedule that they are now enjoying.
It’s a great way to create a buzz around such initiatives. People are excited to find out more about the process the leaders have been through, and they’re keen to carve out time to get involved. Engagement steadily improves as word spreads.
Over the years we’ve seen the contrast. In the past we witnessed some great initiatives that didn’t get the engagement they deserved.
What we see now is people lining up to get involved because their leader is not only endorsing the programme but actively living with the everyday benefits of taking part in it.
Following this model we’ve seen countless times how working with a leadership team of even 10-15 people, it’s possible to leverage engagement with initiatives to hundreds of colleagues.
A small investment of time and effort to generate some potentially huge results.
So, although we appreciate it may be challenging at times, if you want to maximise leadership buy in, focus on sharing the benefits your initiatives have to offer rather than sharing the knowledge of what the initiatives are. Learning by experience is always more impactful and more memorable.
Memorable for the leaders...
'I feel empowered to perform better.’
'I left every session with insights about myself, a fresh perspective of the situation and most importantly a realistic action plan.'
'Thank you for the guidance, it has made a difference for me!'
And memorable for the stakeholders...
'I hope you felt and saw the impact you are making on our leadership team.'
‘The whole team really enjoyed having time devoted to themselves and their needs. They've really benefited from the new knowledge they have.’