After years of working with people in large, complex organisations I’ve come to the realisation that the basis of passionate engagement is healthy positive relationships.
When relationships with and within your organisation are healthy and positive, people are loyal to your brand or product, can’t help but say great things about you and are motivated to be actively involved in what you do. In this scenario everyone wins: customers, employees, shareholders and organisations you partner with.
We all feel touched to some degree when someone we see as important — our boss, the company CEO, someone we admire outside of work — remembers something that’s important to us and takes the time to enquire about it. This could be as simple as the phrase, ”How is Sabine’s leg coming along?” Most of us feel similarly touched when our boss gives us a killer smile, the local barista remembers us and the type of coffee we like, or we are shown genuine empathy in service situations where we have struggled. "I'm so sorry the wait time was so long. I'm sure you are really busy. Let's see if we can get this fixed quickly".
One of my favourite service moments was the conversation I had with AAMI after I backed my car into a car park pole (ouch!). What I loved about the conversation was how kind, and non-judgemental the person taking my claim was. To the point that when I mentioned how embarrassed I was, he let me know that he had also done something similar and this had also been a heart-sinking moment for him.
Last year I designed a program called “Mastering Engaging Conversations”. The program focuses on:
Tips and tricks for connecting with others,
How to notice when your connection with others is ‘broken’, and
Ways to repair these vital connections if and when things go off the rails.
The program is based on insights from social psychology, behavioural economics, and neuroscience. The concepts covered are reflective of ideas conveyed in books like Crucial Conversations, Getting to Yes, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Your Brain at Work and Quiet Leadership.
Because the program really resonated with me, and those I shared it with, I’ve decided to pass on some of the ideas over a series of blog posts, this being the first introductory post.
Next time, some more thoughts on why establishing positive healthy relationships is a little like taking out health insurance.