Winning Hearts And Minds
“Winning hearts and minds.”
We’ve probably used that phrase a thousand times to describe how we can effect broad change amongst a broad set of people (it is a best-selling book
afterall). But do you know it’s origins? It was a concept coined specifically in during a time of military combat in which one side – rather than using brute force – tried to gain support by making emotional or intellectual appeals. So in today’s very challenging and dynamic business world, it’s not hard to draw parallels to the workplace.
We think that the failure to win over the hearts and minds of your team members will result in so-so results, and definitely hamper your ability to achieve the sustainable continuous improvement efforts that you need to succeed long-term. Of course, it does takes time and a lot of hard work to win over people who have not been engaged, but it’s an investment worth making.
Ok, so how to start winning over their hearts and minds
Connect with Your Employees
Making connections isn’t complex and doesn’t require special skills. The challenge is recognizing that you need to engage and consciously finding opportunities to do so. As a leader, you must be intentional about making connections. Demonstrating your attention through words, actions, and actively listening can be a difference maker. As you think about what lies ahead today, seek out easy ways to engage with the people who cross your path.
Appreciation and recognition are powerful tools. The simple act of “thank you” or sharing positive recognition makes people feel valued and sends a clear signal that you care. But it’s not enough to think it—you must effectively communicate your appreciation and recognition. And when you do show appreciation, make it count. Be specific
about what you appreciate and make it meaningful and genuine.
Communicating with Clarity and Consistency
Recent studies have shown that a key motivator is “being in the know.” Employees want to feel like they have a clear picture of what’s happening in the organization
. Strengthen your team by regularly sharing information, which sometimes means communicating
it more than once and in different settings.
The focus on engaging the “hearts and minds” of the people in your organization by demonstrating every day that you value their ideas, participation and well being is a key factor in the success any improvement efforts. All too often, we’ve seen the results of tools-based programs where people are directed, but not engaged, and the lack of sustainability that results. The gains that are made aren’t captured and progress quickly erodes as people return to their old way of doing things.