Recently I had the pleasure of learning first-hand how an Event Hospitality & Entertainment company, with over 100 years of operation, has become an amazing example of how an entrepreneurial company can parlay its passion for the silver screen and its expertise in exhibition into various areas of entertainment, hospitality and leisure.
It led me to think about how employees, customers and shareholders could stay connected with an organisation over such a long period of time. In their recent book Connection Culture Jason Pankau and Katharine Stallard provide 100 actions you can take to create and maintain a connection culture.
Importantly, before diving straight into isolated culture connection activities, they identified that creating a successful connection culture depends on whether practices that connect, including attitudes, language, and behaviour are acted upon by everyone. These practices must be taught and encouraged to help inspire people to begin thinking of themselves as committed members and servant leaders.
An employee will not win Best Employee without having been Best Supporting Employee at some stage, and it is hard to be a successful Director when you haven’t experienced focused, structured direction.
Several of the ways that Pankau and Stallard suggest we can connect with employees will also serve you well should you switch from sales to movie mogul.
Cascade Your Vision - At one or two points during each year, repeat the process, factoring in how well your plans are working and what adjustments are necessary. An inclusive process to establish annual objectives and action plans engages people and helps them align their behaviour with the plan
Hold Continuous Improvement Meetings - hold “continuous improvement” team meetings three to four times a year to identify innovative ways to improve and achieve your mission. These meetings could be focused on ways to increase revenue, reduce costs, improve quality, or improve efficiency
Celebrate Team Success - when your team accomplishes a major goal, celebrate. Ask people for suggestions about how to celebrate, and if you can afford it, invite them to bring a significant other to join in.
Share Your Stories, Be Open to Connect and Build Trust - the deepest connections are formed when you are open to communicate who you really are, what you really believe, and your struggles in life. Consider sharing what you’ve learned from past mistakes if it will help another person, and it’s appropriate.
Hire for Competence and Character - most managers hire for competence, but are not as intentional about probing to understand a job applicant’s character. Take time to identify your core values as a leader, then ask questions that explore those values as you interview the applicants.
Be Intentional About Achieving Task and Relationship Excellence - never forget that excellence, progress, and positive results connect people, and the lack thereof is disconnecting. Most leaders focus on task excellence alone, and there are also leaders who have strong relations but neglect task excellence.
I think the path to ‘movie stardom’ for an actor or actress is like that for an employee in your organisation. An initial role will provide an opportunity to experience the genre and develop some skill. Additional exposure to the process, other team members and feedback on their performance brings enhances their ability to contribute to the final outcome.
As award-winning actress, director, and producer Jodie Foster once said:
“As an actor, I'm always playing solitary characters. But as a director, I'm always making ensemble movies, which focus on lots of people's lives and how they intertwine.”
How does your company draw out these solitary characters into an ensemble cast to deliver on the big screen?
Director of Affinity People
(HR Advisory and Executive Search Consultancy)