Creating a culture of engagement with Rick Lozano at ATD2015
ATD2015 kicks off with my first concurrent session (SU100), with Rick Lozano. I met Rick in Dallas at the 2013 ICE for his session on bringing rock ‘n roll to training. What an energiser! This year, he is here to talk about how to get people rocking their jobs, excited to be there, lost in their work, unleashing creativity and potential…
Several years ago, Rick was asked by his boss “What are you passionate about?” Rick’s first answer rejected (“Eh, training”) the boss asked again “No, your real passion.” Rick’s answer was “music” and his boss told him to bring that into his work. And although Rick does play guitar in his free time, that’s not how he brought music to his training work. Read my 2013 ICE session notes to see what he does.
The story is relevant in 2015, because we are talking about someone who brings real engagement to the workplace, somone can tune into what really turns him on and get that working for him. As a freelance worker, I always feel like no one workplace will ever be able to give me that opportunity. I would have to create it myself. But according to Rick, there are 3 things the average company can focus on to help their people feel the same vibe:
Get every individual involved in engagement
According to Rick, the statistics are not good for employee engagement: Only 13% of workers surveyed in the USA say that they are engaged. And engagement is not about “satisfaction”. If you want satisfaction, you can put in a bunch of video games, slides, a gym and plenty of other fun stuff. But just having a cool place where you do your work isn’t enough to get people engaged.
What individuals want is to be trusted. To be proactive. To be able to bring their own individual secret sauce to work. Engagement is when people are emotionally connected and psychologically committed. And it is worth investing in as an organisation. You don’t want to lose the talent and you want the people who stay to bring bottom-line value.
One of the major engagement problems Rick sees is that we outsource the “engagement issue” to HR, running surveys and creating “engagement initiatives”. But engagement is everybody’s job:
- We need to let individuals make decisions and have a real impact on the company mission
- We need to give people feedback on the work they do and how it matters
- Engagement must be a part of every conversation with our managers, who must help us to find out what turns us on and how we are doing
Give permission to be creative
Lozano says that as a kids we were all creative. Given 2 rocks * and a little time we made games and stories. This beginners mind (or “no-mind of creativity“) holds a key to engagement: We try things, learn, grow and smile.
Give people time and permission to try new things and make mistakes, put them in new places and they might just get creative. Maybe even let them choose their own job titles (Please henceforth call me “The firestarter”).
* another mention of the word “rock” at ATD2015
Help people grow in the way they love
People want to grow, to master things. The buzz we get from getting better is massively engaging. We get lost in trying. Times flies.
As an organisation, we need to help people to grow like that. We need to let people focus on their strengths and passions. Repeat: To LET them. Whatever that means. Like Rick’s boss did. If we know what people love, we need to have the daring to say “bring that to work”.