How Can Your Brand Engage People’s Hearts and Minds?

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I’ve learned that leadership in business is about three things:

Your head, your hands, your heart.

Here’s what I mean. If you wonder how effective you are as a leader, look behind and see how many are following you. The fact is … you earn the right to be respected as a leader IF…

* You have the knowledge, the experience and the intellect it takes for your role.

* You secure the resources necessary to run the business and you give others the tools, training and ability to do their job.

* You are not self-centered. Self-centered people are not leaders, no matter what their business card reads. It’s about actions that are observable – not just talk. As the saying goes, “walk the talk.” If you don’t, you’ll look behind and see you are more of an individual contributor with few followers committed to giving their best for the success of the company.

So how can you engage people’s hearts and minds?

1- Get Together Just for Grins

— Work is all about work. But don’t leave out the fun part. Work should also include taking time for camaraderie together. Recognizing that the best work gets done WITH people, not OVER people— find ways to encourage the team to get to know each other on a personal level. That’s what builds trust relationships. What does your team know about others’ hobbies, their interests, their passions—anything outside of everyday work that makes them tick?

Here are a few client team building examples:

Chili Cook Off – As a Foodie, I loved planning this.
It’s best if held at someone’s home or outside on a restaurant patio with sets of burner stations. All the ingredients and toppings are laid out for each team to select what they will use in their chili. (Besides the standard chili items, include nontraditional options like honey, dry sherry, chocolate, carbonated drinks, limes, etc.) Give them time to cook their chili. All the while lots of fun conversation is sure to ensue.  At the sound of the gong the team must be finished, ready to serve the judge(s) their recipe. Have a fun prize for the BEST CHILI! Then let everyone eat the various chili concoctions for dinner…a little beer, wine or cokes…and the evening takes care of itself.

Paint Class – Watch for the Picassos to emerge.

Head to a team painting class where everyone paints the same picture, but ooooh the differences you’ll see! Usually food is served along the way so people are taking breaks from their creativity, looking around the room at others’ creations, then back to their own. Caution – The teacher must be flexible but hold the class accountable for finishing on time.

I actually found a tad of talent myself.  No way I’d change careers, however!

Rowing on a Lake – No, it doesn’t take strength but does take team work.

We took senior leaders to a lake resort to give them skills to develop a more cohesive team. Rowing requires people to “row as one,” to work together toward the team’s goals. When each rower is rowing on his or her own…out of sequence with the others, the boat does not move well or fast. The leadership program we developed (and still use) is called Managing Sideways to Influence Your Scope of Reach.

Part of each day the leaders learned how to row, practiced the skill and at the end of the two days they competed on the lake with the local college women’s rowing team. Guess who won! (email me and I’ll tell you.)

This compelling message was “Hey Team…Set the Oars!” That means let’s align our hearts and minds before we start our meetings. The company took home one of the oars signed by each person. It’s hung in the conference room as a continuous reminder of their experience.

2 – Brand Your Office Environment

— How can you “liven” up the work environment – making it an engaging place to spend the work day? We spend most of our day AT work, DOING work, and MANAGING work. Make it more inviting, more interesting. How boring to work in a boring workplace! Hang intriguing artwork, play background music — do something jaw dropping.

Examples:

* On the top two floors of our office building is the corporate headquarters for WhichWich. They have a Labrador company mascot. Guess what! That lab comes to work every day. Can you imagine? And employees love him. They even share taking him home. There’s something heartfelt about petting a dog.

* A financial services firm has a billiard room fully equipped for those who want to take a few minutes to play and unwind. Even those who don’t know how to play….play! It’s fun and that’s the point.

*A global client company has laptops mounted on top of treadmills, allowing employees to work while they walk. I tried it and found myself getting into the rhythm. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll add that to my “to do” list this year.

Here’s the point. With innovation the big buzz – find ways to make your work place a more inviting space for people to BE innovative, to give their best for the betterment of your company. You just might find people more productive.

Here’s more from our blog that relates to your Heart Brand:
Employee Engagement Fosters Creativity and Innovation.
Valerie SokoloskyValerie Sokolosky is a Master Personal Brand Strategist and expert thought leader in leadership presence and personal branding. A widely published author and founder of Valerie and Company, her executive coaching and training has helped companies large and small achieve their goals of increased productivity, profitability, and enhanced people skills.

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