Too many managers make the mistake of thinking that asking the opinions of others is what stakeholder engagement is all about. It is not. Employee engagement is involving stakeholders in owning and being accountable for results. It is inviting and facilitating their participation in identifying opportunities, defining potential, adding and creating value, celebrating success, and using lessons learned to continually improve and mature.
Engagement is hard work. It is culturally instilled through governance communications and practice. Recently, the American Management Association identified several requirements for creating and sustaining a culture of engagement and empowerment. To fully institutionalize stakeholder engagement as a way of life, business enterprise communities must:
- Personalize every stakeholder’s value to business enterprise success and constantly revalidate their value through recognition
- Empower every stakeholder to be fearless in analyzing opportunities to add value and pursue excellence in thought and action
- Avoid creating too much structural compliance and overwhelming stakeholders with work assignments and projects
- Create an environment of work that is fun and promotes innovative thought
- Make everything transparent through bold information sharing and performance feedback
- Use vision and values to recognize individual value and not compensation or promotion
- Inspire and provide hope for the future
- Amplify success rate rather than dwell on problems and failure. Failures should be seen as catalysts for growth.
- Collaborative interdependence should be continually promoted and reinforced through constant learning, team building and shared accountabilities
- Promote a feeling in every stakeholder that his or her opinions and talent matters. Healthy egos promote adaptability, flexibility and the passionate pursuit of perfection.
If this approach to engagement and involvement is followed, the human and business potential of an organization is unlimited. Engagement becomes a catalyst for maximizing opportunity and establishing a competitive advantage of collaborative learning, commitment and unexpected success. Trust, respect, self-discipline, and positive self-image replace compliance, follow ship, fence-sitting and situational response as the way stakeholders work and support one another while defining opportunity and capturing potential.
INNOVA Group is a business consulting firm, in business since 1986, specializing in Business Enterprise Leadership and Governance Improvement, Project/Process Training Certification, and Organization Development. http://www.innovagroup.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 919-792-3968