Monday, November 14, 2016

The Power of Engagement: Leading By Example:Part I

In the 21st century, any business organization or educational organization that wishes to instill mindsets that nurture creative and innovative thinking needs to understand that this is an impossible task unless you first create a real sense of engagement in the mission of the organization by those who are part of that organization. The advance of technology and increased use of the world wide web in many facets of our lives has created a dilemma for both business and educational organizations. They know that in order to solve the complex real world problems that buffet their organizations, they need learners and employees that will make use of their creative and innovative talents but the truth is that both learners and employees are using these talents but mostly in activities outside the mission of the organization.

Credit: Hari Babu (2014)

The questions that need to be asked from the point of view of both business organizations and educational institutions are:

" What is this phenomenon trying to tell us and what do we have to do as organizations to harness this level of employee or learner engagement to the organizational challenges that are impacting us?

If, as an organization, you want your employees to be innovative and creative in their thinking then you need to create an environment which will nurture those skillsets. The first step is to create an environment that encourages effective and powerful conversations that give rise to true collaboration.

Leading By Example--- Reflections on the Use of LinkedIn and Effective Conversations

The LinkedIn platform has one of the greatest potentials for engaging people in many professions in important conversations that reinforce creative and innovative thinking. The real question is whether or not LinkedIn is realizing that potential.

Credit: Trinity Adam
 At first glance, one immediately notices the number of the LinkedIn groups which speaks very well to its diversity. However, even with this immense number of groups, we still have to ask the question:

"Are the members of these groups engaged in effective and thoughtful conversations or is the main focus simply 1.5 million tip lines?"

It is interesting to survey postings in many groups because what jumps out at you is the number of times that "likes" are registered but the conversations don't happen. I am sure for many group moderators they feel like pulling their hair out when they see this happening in their own group. So, what is the perception that people have about how LinkedIn is being used?

Credit: www.Talent Manager 

Also revealing are the features that people find most helpful.

Credit: Plus.Google.Com
The most eloquent and detailed discussions that I have noticed have to do with the complaints people have for the way that many postings in LinkedIn are too much like Facebook. Notice that in the above chart that "posting and/or participating in group discussions is at a 41.7% priority. I really have to ask:

"Are these the limits of our creative and innovative thinking? Is this the best that we can hope for in terms of thoughtfully engaging conversations?"

Do not get the idea that I am picking on LinkedIn or really criticizing its potential but I think it represents a microcosm of a far greater pervasive problem that we seem to be displaying in our societies and it can best be expressed in a couple of questions:

"Are we being defined by the routines and minutiae of living our daily lives to the point where we are saying we no longer are willing to give time to become involved in thoughtful, engaging discussions in a platform that has such great potential as LinkedIn?"

"Are we allowing the frustrations, narcissism and a cynical view of the future to block creative and innovative collaborative thinking which could lead to a better quality of life for many people?"

If we want to capitalize on the power of engagement and nurture it in our business and educational organizations, we need to lead by example. LinkedIn is but one platform that we can lead by example if we can put aside our time consuming engagement in superficial things and devote more of our time to powerful conversations that will go further to improving our present state. In doing so, we don't have to put aside our humanity but we do need to show and demonstrate its greatest assets.

Next---Leading By Example II---A Surprising Look at Business and the Power of Engagement

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