When James Cameron, world famous movie director, was starting the revolutionary AVATAR movie project he had t–shirts made up for his crew, with the words: Hope is not a strategy. James Cameron is known for being particularly meticulous in his leadership style, he has a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C, and “expects to be on Plan C by his second cup of coffee.” It is for this reason that he has been asked to give lectures to NASA and the US Navy about how to manage complex and dangerous projects where devastating changes can happen in an instant.
In her pioneering work in 1999, Amy Edmondson identified the concept of Psychological Safety - a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. She discovered that the best-functioning teams are the ones where people feel safe to speak up - to make mistakes, to own up, to share ideas and offer opinions. Since then, organisations such as Google have done their own studies whose findings support this, showing that this one factor could make the biggest difference in how a team and an organisation performs.
Clouds are those blurred masses of condensed watery vapor floating in the sky whose gloomy nature often leads to questionings around their true physical state. Are they really tangible? Could we touch what we look up to? And above all, is there a difference between what we imagine seeing and what they truly are?
As a young adult I had the opportunity to work at a camp in Canada for 4 summers. It’s amazing how quickly you build relationships and bonds with people over a 12–16 week period.
Spending nights around the campfire together, playing stupid games, swimming in the lake, mooching around the local towns and enjoying the stars in the nightsky. It’s a full on experience and it’s easy to see how some of the people have become some of my closest friends.
I'm not the first to say it and know it’s a strange thing to say, particularly for someone who spends their time supporting organisations to improve their performance by developing engagement levels.
But for me the phrase ‘employee engagement’ has always been a problem, I’ve never liked it, it’s never sat well with me, but it took me a while to really understand why.
Part 3 — Who to trust?
Part 2 — Who is accountable?
Part 1 — Who is control?