I recently had the pleasure of meeting Kate Davies, CEO of Notting Hill Housing Trust. Kate is a very interesting person. On her travels she has observed that in some countries, particularly Japan and China, there seems to be a greater sense of community connectedness than in Western cultures. Very simply the Japanese and Chinese people seem to appreciate that their behaviour has an affect on others. As a result they appear more considerate of others, at a local level and beyond.
The internet has allowed geographically disparate communities to flourish, I enjoy this ability to connect worldwide enormously. However I sense that local community connectedness is withering. Where I live now, it’s a quiet place with little traffic and so conversations with neighbours are pretty easy. They still don’t happen very often. As for action, well that’s rarer still. There is a neighbour close by who runs an afternoon tea once a year as a get together and fund raiser. Sometimes a few of us pass surplus fruit or veg across the fence, maybe even run the odd shopping errand. But that’s about it, and even that is probably more than what goes on amongst neighbours generally.
So I wonder if maybe the reason why we repeat these mistakes is something to do with the fact that we don’t seem to care about each other, as a community. If I don’t care about someone else then I’m probably not concerned about the impact my action has on that other person, or persons.
I’m interested in a project called The Big Lunch. It’s about getting to know the people who live around you, understand each other better, and do stuff for each other. Make connections, nurture relationships, think beyond the next pay packet. This is how a community in South London made it work last year. Encourage people to take a look and maybe use this idea as a way of reconnecting. You never know, if there’s a manager in your neighbourhood, reaching out might help him or her to learn that there are simple and easier ways to learn how to stop doing dumb things to customers?
This year The Big Lunch is on Saturday July 18th, why not put the date in your diary and get involved?
If ever you doubted your ability to affect change, take a look at this passionate, heartfelt, and at times amusing speech by JK Rowling to Harvard University. Humbling and powerful stuff which proves we can all make a difference. On responsibility, Rowling says “There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction”. Fabulous! Choose your own attitude.
Her experiences working for Amnesty International bring a lump to your throat. Thanks to Shereen for showing me the way to this great speech.
My search for interesting and useful stories about employee engagement take me to many places. I search all over, and sometimes the very best stuff is a lot closer than you think. Thanks to the wonder of the internet I’ve made lots of friends I’ve yet to meet, though I know a good deal of them better than I know some of my relatives!
One of those highly enjoyable meet ups that has come my way is with a guy named Craig. We share at least two common interest, guitars and engagement. Here is a link to a great story written by Craig as a letter, from the worker to the boss. In itself it’s a lovely tale about connectedness. Behind it is some really powerful stuff, like talent wars, career shifters, and people who need people. It’s also about retaining good people, and the payoff.
Craig concludes by saying, “If you manage to land good talent, you’d better work hard to hold on to it. What factors impact overall job satisfaction, and therefore retention? Forget the bottom level basic survival needs of the Maslow model. The work force is craving much more than just pay and benefits. I’m not a researcher, and I don’t care to list yet again the mountains of studies and data to validate this, but the studies are out there. Fact:
Companies with higher levels of engagement also experience greater profit, productivity and retention rates.
The bad news: you cannot buy engagement. The good news: engagement costs nothing.”