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The Fundamental Principle of an Effective Organization

posted Feb 12, 2016, 6:32 AM by Lisa Shelley   [ updated Feb 12, 2016, 7:57 AM ]
What if you could focus on just one principle that would dramatically increase the effectiveness of your organization? How would your leadership approach shift if you viewed your organization through a lens of connection?


“Let’s just keep asking ourselves this question: ‘Is what I’m about to do strengthening the web of connections, or is it weakening it?’”
~ Margaret Wheatley


The concept of connection is central to the definition of an organization. In the simplest form, an organization is a group of people connected to each other, to their work and to a common goal or outcome.

When assessing your organization, it’s easy to focus largely on talent. Although talent is certainly important, the strength of the connections within your organization will determine how effectively that talent is leveraged and the ultimate capability and effectiveness of the overall organization.

The strength of the connections… will determine how effectively talent is leveraged.

Your opportunity as a leader is to foster three critical connections. How can you help your employees connect to each other, to their work and to your business goals?

Creating Community

Connection between employees in an organization creates relationships and a sense of community. These relationships support an employee’s motivational need to belong, create personal commitment and cooperation, and build the foundational trust necessary for effective collaboration. They also support something sorely lacking in many workplaces – the opportunity to enjoy our time at work.

Can you think of a time when you were strongly committed to an organization without feeling a strong sense of connection and belonging? Probably not.

Building a connected organization requires a leader that values relationships, is interested in connecting with people and is willing to invest the time required to make it happen. It requires recognizing that your employees are people first.

Your employees are people first.

Relationships support an employee’s motivational need to belong, create personal commitment and cooperation, and build the foundational trust necessary for effective collaboration.

Create a community for your employees by connecting with them and encouraging them to connect with each other.

Facilitating Success

The ability to feel connected and committed to your work is very closely related to your ability to feel successful. Humans all have a basic motivational need to achieve. If your ability to achieve is seriously compromised, you tend to dis-connect to minimize feelings of personal failure. In contrast, the opportunity to overcome achievable challenges builds a sense of success and commitment and allows you to truly enjoy your work.

All employees need to feel successful.

Fostering collaboration within an organization requires that all employees have the opportunity to feel successful. In a culture where success is very narrowly defined, perhaps as the attainment of a particular level or position, the employees’ drive for success will incentivize competition at the expense of collaboration.

Can you think of a job that you were absolutely loved and were committed to, despite your inability to feel successful? Can you think of a truly collaborative organization where all of the respect, recognition and accolades are reserved for a small minority?

  • How can you connect your employees with what they need to feel successful?
  • Believe in them. Set clear expectations and believe in their ability to deliver.
  • Provide context. Do your employees understand why what they are doing is important? How it connects to the goals of the business?
  • Provide resources. Do your employees have access to the information, tools and training that they need to get the job done?
  • Create a Learning Environment. Value and encourage ideas, constructive conflict and contributions from all employees at all levels. Encourage exploration and autonomy, as well as results.

Facilitate your employees’ commitment to their work by connecting them with what they need to feel successful.

Fueling Inspiration

Although we are all motivated at some level for personal success, ultimately it is the opportunity to contribute to something larger than ourselves that hooks our intrinsic motivation, taps our highest creativity, and keeps us inspired for the long term. This type of meaning is also a powerful connector for an organization and drives the collaboration necessary for optimal performance and innovation.

How inspired is your team? Are they aligned by the opportunity to make a significant impact on something they believe in?

As a leader your opportunity is to keep your employees connected to the inspiring elements of your business. What is the contribution your business provides to the world? How are you positively impacting your customers? What breakthrough technologies are you working on? How do you excel in your industry? Although financial results are a critical metric and tool for any business, they are not inspiring for most employees. Inspiration comes from the opportunity to make an impact on something you believe in – it comes from meaning.

Although we are all motivated at some level for personal success, ultimately it is the opportunity to contribute to something larger than ourselves that hooks our intrinsic motivation, taps our highest creativity, and keeps us inspired for the long term.

Inspire your employees by connecting them to the meaning in their work.

Helping your employees connect in these three areas not only motivates the individual; it simultaneously strengthens the effectiveness of the overall organization! It is these connections that allow the group to achieve more than simply the sum of each individual’s efforts.

One focus. Connection. Does your approach with your organization strengthen or weaken them?

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Author:  Lisa Shelley

Post originally published originally on:

http://switchandshift.com/why-an-executive-leadership-role-isnt-worth-the-sacrifice