Team engagement starts early on and I’ve had a couple of interesting meetings already this week where I have been talking about engaging the team at work to ensure the best results are achieved for a project. But, frustratingly, both businesses have spoken about ensuring their teams are engaged but when it comes down to delivering a project, the team are told what to do and not engaged.
This got me thinking, having collected by son from his training weekend for his Duke of Edinburgh award, I was expecting to see a bunch of exhausted boys, who could wait to get away from school and enjoy what was left of the weekend, it couldn’t have been further from the truth. The teams were all sitting down being de-briefed, laughing, engaging, not just with each other but with the instructors and teachers as well. The key here was the boys have been engaged in the programme from the beginning, through briefing sessions at school, planning meetings with their teams and then great interaction and communication on their training weekends.
The actual expedition is in two weeks, so the proof will be seen then. However, the boys clearly trust their instructors, listen to them and are also listened to, creating a completely engaged team. This team are being pushed to do something most of them would never have considered doing and is totally outside of their comfort zone, so if 14 year olds can do it, why can’t we as adults do it.
There is no secret, or wonderful science to engagement, it is simple. Start communicating before the project begins, when you are at the planning stage or even before. Meet and discuss with the team and get their views at an early stage and then continue to communicate with them regularly.
Seeing the instructors do this as my son’s school made me realise how much we can learn from working with children of all ages, after all, we are just grown up children and we don’t really change that much.