By their very nature, large organisations can be difficult things to navigate. Knowledge is not perfect despite the emergence of digital social systems. The role of managers and all of us for that matter is to make sure we fully participate in the success of the organisation and part of this means that knowledge, insights and contribution move as quickly as possible to those that will benefit from it.
Senior executives have a critical role to play because they have a privileged perspective/ vantage point and can act as role models to the behaviour that will achieve this end.
The question is HOW? Start by using the ingenuity that got you to the top of your organisation!
The following is the approach of one successful executive that did just that.
- Instead of people coming to the executive to meet he went to them. This created many opportunities to bump into people along the way he would not normally come in contact with.
- He would walk a different floor each day and speak to people he would not necessarily have cause to speak to. His excuse to interrupt was to offer a lolly (sounds corny but it worked for him). It proved to be so popular he would be stopped regularly and asked why he had not been to a particular floor for a while! Even this enquiry was another opportunity for another interaction.
- Breach the unspoken elevator protocol and strike up a conversation. It helps to know that all floors of the building were occupied by the same organisation.
These are just some examples of the chance interactions that this executive exploited to great business advantage each day. The content of these conversations was critical and structured. The opening questions would drive the conversation.
- What are you working on right now?
- What challenges are you facing?
- What are the 3 things that would make a big difference to the outcome?
From this simple exchange the executive had the opportunity to offer an insight or perspective, re-frame the problem in a way that the problem may be solved in a better way, suggest a person to speak to because that person had solved it before or are working on a similar or related issue, reinforce the importance of their work and offer encouragement or to just say thank you. Notice that none of this adds to the executive’s workload.
You could easily have 50 or even 100 of these high-value interactions each day without consuming any more of your time. Through your inquisitiveness you let people know you are interested and care, their work is important, help them in ways they will only fully appreciate and can complete your day knowing that the gift you gave each one of these employees will positively impact their day. In a time where 76% of workers in Australia are NOT engaged with their work (Gallup State of the global workplace report) what possibly could be more important!