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I once heard my friend Professor Colin Campbell-Hunt talk about his research into great New Zealand companies (see World Famous in New Zealand). He said these companies were like the Sun, with so much energy, it crackles out in flares around the edges. This image really appealed to me because I know exactly what he means. You can feel it the minute you enter a place. The buzz. It's exciting, its palpable. It's the difference between 'world famous' and ordinary.
Energy is highly important; so why don't more managers see their role as managers of energy? Actually "managers of energy" is probably the wrong way to think about it. Human energy can not be bought or controlled, it can't be managed. It can only be given, encouraged and set free.
It comes from managers who believe in their people, more than the people believe in themselves. Most people are like unlocked treasure chests, all they need is someone with the key.
It comes from valuing people above all else, even when the going gets tough.. It's about nourishing people: body (more income), head (more learning), heart (more belonging) and soul (more meaning).
Energy comes from constantly discussing the meaning of the work and tying it to a higher purpose. Nearly everybody wants to be part of something that is bigger than themselves. They want to make the world a better place. They want to leave a legacy. Talk in these terms and the Sun starts to flare.
It's about understanding that the world is not a straight-line. It's about trying lots of things and some will spark in the most unexpected way. Usually they are the most simple and elegant solutions but you never know until you try.
It's about understanding that people are like learning machines. They love to explore. They love to play. They don't like to be boxed in. So think seriously about how you structure work, it's important.
It's about open communication. And I'm not talking about words. What I am talking about is communicating values through your actions.
It's about seeing the organisation as "living" (not mechanical), obeying the "Laws of Living Systems." And then systematically and continually removing organisational barriers that hold people back. I've hardly ever seen a situation where the people don't want to do a good job; if they don't it's nearly always because systems or managers get in the way.
Take the energy test. As soon as you've finished reading this, give yourself 10 minutes to walk around the organisation and just be aware of the energy levels. If they are not as high as you'd like, give me a call. Releasing energy and untapped brainpower in large organisations is what I do well.
Helps large organisations be focussed, fast and flexible. Places where people have more meaning, depth and connection.
Expert in Strategy, Structure, Culture and Leadership Development.
One of NZ's most experienced change agents.
Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills, strategy, strategies, business strategy, business strategies, strategy management, strategic management, strategy development, implementation.