Open and inclusive communication is more vital today than ever. Partly because people enjoy round-the-clock access to information and opinion – reliable or not – people in modern organizations tend to be skeptical about what they are told and discerning about what they believe. Only by engaging in meaningful dialogue can they be convinced to buy into collective goals. At the very least, substantive discussions ensure that everyone makes judgments based on the same information.
Engagement is the new mandate in action as well as in communication, because people want to be part of actions they understand and respect.
Here are eight steps to engaged action:
* Research facts and opinions. The key to galvanizing others is to understand their perspectives and make sure they have complete, objective information. In addition, the opinions and perceptions of stakeholders deserve respect.
* Engage with those who matter and listen to their views. There is no substitute for personal interaction with customers, clients, employees, colleagues, and other stakeholders. However, the interaction need not be formal or structured to be effective.
* Decide what to do. Base the decision as much as possible on stakeholder feedback.
* Communicate the decision. Explain any merits and any reasoning behind it, and seek more feedback. It is important to explain why the decision is in the best interests of the organization, and what outcomes people can expect.
* Act/behave/implement the decision. Avoid delay.
* Communicate again what was done and why. This is the time to close the loop, showing people what was accomplished by moving from intention to action.
* Engage again and listen to reactions. Feedback at this stage will reveal how people perceive the action; in particular, whether they believe it was reasonable, fair, values-based, and motivated by caring for them and for the organization. Some may criticize, but negative comments create an opportunity to solicit still more feedback.
* Evaluate and plan for next steps. Look back, reflect, consider the outcome, and think about how to do things better next time.
It is important to remember that engagement is a highly personal process, dependent on coming across through a sincere, well-meaning individual as well as a skilled professional. This goes hand in hand with the nature of reputation, which is simultaneously personal and professional. Reputation-enhancing traits such as commitment and dedication can be communicated in many small ways; for example, by paying extra attention to a customer, sending a congratulatory note to a colleague, or reaching out to a coworker who is facing a family challenge. Fundamentally, what makes a difference is going just a few steps further than most others would do.
Design and Developed by WPoets