My office has a whiteboard and at the top are the words… Be Intentional. That phrase has been at the top of my whiteboard all year. Why? Because I wanted to see a constant reminder that to achieve my goals for the year, I knew I would have to be intentional, or I may never succeed in meeting them.
Being intentional has become my team’s mantra for the year as well. In the past, we usually build out a strategic plan for the upcoming year and set out to execute that plan throughout the next year. Although we share our strategy with the business, it usually tends to be at a high level, and then we strive for execution without really letting others in the agency know ‘the why’ that is driving our actions. Not that it’s a big secret, but we just don’t take the time to share the details, many times assuming others don’t want to know the “why,” but only the results.
Last fall, while making our plans for the upcoming year, we realized there were several lofty goals we wanted to set for ourselves to achieve. We also knew those goals could not be accomplished by relying solely on our team, but the entire agency would have to join us. As we considered our efforts to support the agency and its goals, we quickly realized that the only way we would be successful was by being ‘intentional.’ We would have to start by sharing with the agency, what we were going to do and why - and that has made all the difference in the world.
Being intentional has created an opportunity for our team to do three things:
BE BOLD AND AMBITIOUS
At the beginning of the year, we were faced with several challenges that we knew could make it difficult to meet our company goals. We were also aware that challenges can be demotivating for employees. As we faced these challenges, we knew we couldn’t be “status quo,” and we knew we needed our employees to be engaged and motivated then more than ever. Our team put our heads together and decided to put a laser focus on our employee’s experiences at work. Some of our inspiration came from a statement made by Jacob Morgan in his book, “The Future of Work,” where he describes the employee experience as a combination of an organization’s cultural, physical and technological environments. We began to understand that continuous management of these areas would create a culture of not only happiness but also high performance resulting in an environment where our team members would want to work and succeed.
ACT WITH TRANSPARENCY AND AUTHENTICITY
By being intentional, we gave ourselves the “permission” to be able to say and do what we meant and have others understand why we were doing it. We are also able to openly discuss what things we wanted to see change or evolve because of our efforts. It was an opportunity to act without being in constant fear or worry about things going wrong or being misunderstood because everyone knew our intentions and what we were trying to achieve. In turn, we gained supporters and advocates who were just as interested as we were to drive positive results.
ACHIEVE OUR GOALS
We began to see our goals being met and a true spirit of collaboration and engagement from our team members. These feelings were solidified when we received very positive survey results from two different surveys taken within the year. We were thrilled to later learn that our team was awarded the 2018 Arkansas Best Places to Work. This was the validation we needed to see -- that focusing on our employees’ experiences and being intentional about doing so was paying off. We also saw an increase in team productivity and more new business growth – both indications that we were on the right track.
Going forward, we plan on maintaining our employee engagement by focusing on the needs of our team members and continuing to move forward in an open, honest and intentional manner. It is what has made the difference in trying to achieve a goal and actually achieving it.