Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The cost of serenity

I recently facilitated a meeting with some employee’s that were feeling disenfranchised, disengaged and disempowered. Not a healthy place to be at all. We went through a series of exercises to identify what the issues were then categorized them into themes. Next we brainstormed each theme to determine if staff members had the power to effect positive change and at this stage something interesting happened. Half of the biggest themes that were causing the most frustration were removed because staff did not have the power or influence to effect positive change. These were very high level strategic and political issues that were impacting morale on a day to day basis.

This was both good news and bad news for the group.
  • The good news was that the group had identified some issues that could be fixed at their level and that the conversation they were having allowed them to explore the issues in detail;
  • The other good news was that they were now aware that there was no sense allowing a bunch of these issues they had identified to bother them because there was nothing they could do at their level to fix them. All they could do was identify it as an issue and pass it up the ladder to the powers that be;
  • The bad news – A number of the core issues would remain – no mitigating steps could (or would) be taken to make the situation better;
After the session had concluded something was bothering me. Two days had passed and it was still bothering me until I saw something I had written a few months previously on a sticky pad and stored on my desk. It was a very old prayer that touched a chord with me a while back so I wrote it down thinking that perhaps one day it might come in handy.

The Serenity Prayer
·        God granted me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
·        The courage to change the things I can;
·        The wisdom to know the difference;
·        It often falls on us to set the example;

So in this example we have achieved most of these four bullets. Due to time restraints we did not pursue solutions – that will come later. However when time permits this group will convene again to explore possibilities and soldier on in a more effective and efficient manner.
Has your organization taken the time recently to identify the issues that are impacting your staff's level of engagement? Huge advances and efficiencies can be made by being bold, letting the skeletons out of the closet and in this case “setting the example”.