At the All-Ireland final, a Kerry supporter sitting right in front of me was giving it the full welly. “Come on the Kingdom. Get bet’ into em”. At half time I couldn’t resist saying: “It’s going to be a long and lonely drive home to Kerry tonight” and the stage was set for a load of (fairly) good-humoured banter throughout the rest of the match. The enthusiasm of the supporters is based on an identification with ‘my team’. The highs and lows as the game ebbed were testament to the passion which is released through the medium of sport. Key Question: As an organization leader, can you tap into a similar level of energy?
Room Outside: I was working with the insurance company RSA in Dundrum. As I was going in through the front door, the Finance Director, Rory O’Connor was on his way out. Destination: A gardening makeover in an inner city school in Sean McDermott Street (nicknamed by the locals with typical (non-PC) inner city humour, as ‘Sean Black Dermott Street’). Now I don’t have the statistics to hand about the percentage of Finance Directors who are interested in gardening, but my guess is that very few are working pro bono on inner city projects. And the commitment of the staff in RSA to this and similar Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects is palpable.
Your Tribe: The best-managed organizations find ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd. CSR has a number of upsides including brand awareness, staff engagement and opportunities for management training and has effectively become the new Red Bull – unblocking internal energy. But this is just one of a number of available approaches to put a tiger in the employee tank. We all know about discretionary effort, the mythical 5th gear that great leadership can release. The challenge is to have the creativity within the management team to tap into this.
As we trawl around different organizations and sectors, I’m all too aware of a mild collective depression which has gripped the country. But hidden among the thorns are companies who have managed to turbo-charge their workforce. Are you in this group?
Up the Dubs!
PS Joke of the Week: I woke up last night to find the ghost of Gloria Gaynor standing at the foot of the bed. “At first I was afraid…then I was petrified” (try singing it!).
PPS. In recent times a number of people have been sending me ‘war stories’ from their own experiences in organizations- sometimes funny, sometimes profound, sometimes just bonkers! Keep them coming. All names will be changed to protect the guilty! Send them to email@example.com