If you’re keeping up with this series, you understand the ROI of a Fiercely Loyal and Engaged Internal Culture, you’ve put time and thought into Why Your Organization Wants One, and you have a pretty good idea of The Frame that will hold your culture and community together. Great work!
Now let’s talk about how to find the people who might be interested in making this new culture a reality.
Building Block #2 – Finding People Who Share The Common Interest (Your Frame).
Who’s already talking about the common interest you’ve identified? Conversations are taking place all over your organization. Your job now is to locate them and listen, listen, listen. Your job is NOT to make a big show of showing up for the conversation and hijacking it for your own agenda. This is the fastest way to short-circuit your idea for a new culture.
Here are some ideas for a) how to find the conversations and b) what to do with them:
1) The staff room.
If you aren’t eating lunch where the majority of your empolyees are, now is the time to start. Again, don’t make a production of it. Just sit down and eat. If it makes you feel better, take a peer with you to talk to. You are only there to unobtrusively listen. As time goes on, you may find a way to usefully contribute to the conversation or your opinion might be asked. The only thing you are focused on right now is finding people who are already discussing topics that are similar to your identified frame.
2) The back of the room at any staff meeting.
This is where the real conversations are taking place. Again, be as unobstrusive as you can be. If you reek of “Hall Monitor”, this exercise will be more than useless. See Number One above for more details on what to do.
3) Any company extracurricular events.
Does your organization have a softball team? Go to the game. Bring Gatorade so you can sit on the bench. Does your company have a volunteer project going on? Show up. Bring snacks.
4) Any internal communication platforms.
If your organization is far-flung, you’ve got all kinds of communication tools in place. Chats, video conferences, conference calls, etc., all give you a chance to listen to the conversations going on inside your company. Get on early and stay after. That’s where the “meetng after the meeting” takes place. 🙂
5) Get in a car or on an airplane and go visit.
I was just reading an article about Chipotle (you’ll be hearing more about them later in this series). The founder and the COO were making personal visits to stores across the country. They engaged their best employees in conversation, asked really great questions and then they listened. What they learned changed the foundational culture and the profitability of their company.
These ideas should get you started. Many of them are so easy you can start right now. Today. At lunch. So get to it!
My next post is going to help you sift through all the conversations you are listening to and help you pinpoint the precise people who are going to form the core of your new employee community. Stay tuned!