By GILLIAN SLADE on August 1, 2020.
As many businesses look to regain momentum after the COVID-19 lockdown, an author in this region has identified three keys to turning things around.
Dana Couillard, author of The Three-legged Stool, says the No. 1 enemy is a sense of frustration among employees.
The key to addressing that can be distilled into “purpose,” which he calls the “seat of engagement.” Other than making a profit, why does a business do what it does and what drives an employee to arrive at work with enthusiasm each day?
“It is the ‘purpose’ that will carry the individual, whether it is their own purpose or the purpose of the organization,” said Couillard.
When the organization as a whole and employees individually have a clear purpose – the reason why they want to be at work and engaged – the legs of the three-legged stool start working together, he says.
Those three legs are control, competence and connection.
In the post-COVID environment all three of these aspects have suffered, Couillard tells the News.
He says without employee engagement there is lower productivity, dis-satisfaction, lower sales and ultimately higher operating costs.
“It is the inability of employees to succeed in their role due to organizational barriers that prevent them from being able to bring the bulk of their individual talents, skills and abilities to their jobs,” he says.
The frustration leads to anger, withdrawal and detachment. He suggests, in part, an absence of pressure, choice, strategy and reduced barriers are key. Employees also need challenges, incentives and positive feedback.
Having purpose in the organization each day can even improve sales, he says. Those doing the selling also begin to understand the purpose of the organization they are selling to, in addition to their own, and can help them reach their purpose too.
Couillard says he is aware that many management programs and strategies, at conferences and workshops, often provide an initial burst of enthusiasm and even a spurt of change before dying off.
“You become overwhelmed by the business of being busy,” said Couillard.
People become overwhelmed in their efforts to put into practice what they have heard and what it takes to have employees buy in to the changes.
In some cases, he says, applying the strategies in the book is enough, but sometimes it takes coaching to understand how to overcome some of the obstacles. He offers that service as well.