Motivity: The Power of Producing Motion in Your Company
“A body in motion can maintain this motion only if it remains in contact with a mover.” Aristotle
Many of us are familiar with Newton’s first law of physics. However, this older quote highlights what very often gets missed when trying to work towards a work culture where employees can be at their best. Who are your movers? Who are the official and unofficial leaders in your organization? And, most importantly, are they moving the company in the right direction?
The workday is filled with moving forward multiple projects, an overload of emails and text messages, putting out “fires,” and, for those managing people, dealing with the day-to-day people issues. There seems to be no time to focus on strategy or even taking the time to acknowledge the direction a project or team is headed. All this daily “motion” happening to and around us is what is driving issues like engaging and retaining talent. It’s what drives whether or not you have a culture of excellence for your clients. It sits underneath issues like burnout and whether or not the work environment is seen as inclusive.
What should you be asking:
If your organization is moving in a direction that isn’t supporting your bottom line over time, how do you make meaningful change?
If turnover rates continue to rise, what’s the impact to the financial health of the company?
If you have key employees burning out, where will you be a five years from now, one year from now?
As my friends at Wellness Underground say, “It’s about the people, people.” The first step in moving in a more positive direction means engaging those that are already movers, trusted movers. Those movers have the capacity, over time, to move a culture in a more positive direction.
We know that just producing movement doesn’t mean it’s in the right direction. At it’s worst, movers in your organization that undermine goals and the mission of the organization, that are creating a shadow culture, can have a very negative impact over time. Most of us have worked in organizations that have the official statement that their most important resource is their people. The shadow culture is that only certain people are treated as important, or perceived as being treated as important. You can bank on that if that is the case, everyone knows it.
Movers in your organization, at their best, can build on cultural strengths and open up new opportunities for employees to get engaged. They can help you walk the talk about your commitment to a thriving workforce. This doesn’t happen without training. Often movers that are in leadership lack some of the fundamental skills that create positive movement. For many organizations, we are still promoting people that do a particular task well, but are not necessarily good movers and positively motivating others. They also often have challenges balancing out their own personal and professional responsibilities. This can put them in a position of not making positive movement.
I recently had a conversation with a new leader that had been promoted into a position they had wanted and worked towards for many years. With the news tasks and responsibilities, there was very little support to help this person be successful. They ended up working very long days, 7 AM to past 11 PM. They felt they didn’t want to let the company down or be seen as not being able to handle the job. They isolated themselves. And this new leader got very burned out. She was lucky enough to get a positive “mover” in the organization to help her speak to management and find a healthier way to address new responsibilities and be mindful of personal health needs.
Every great organization needs movement, positive movement. Take the time to look at where you and your organization are moving and if it is in the right direction. That can save the company both time and money.
If you are a leader, it’s also important to take the time to see where you are personally. You are a visible mover to your team. Take the time to ask yourself if the motion around you and your team is leading you in the direction you want to go. Ask yourself as a leader how you are contributing to that movement. If you are working towards moving in a better direction, make sure you got a positive mover beside you to keep you going: a qualified coach, a trusted colleague, a think tank, whatever is most helpful for you.
Each one of us has the opportunity to move in a more positive direction. Every organization holds the power to shift towards positive movement.
What you can do:
Bring trusted leadership together, including those that are the disruptors, to get a gut check on your culture.
Get feedback from your workforce about both what they see as positives and what is a barrier for them.
If you do find you have a shadow culture, a culture that is holding you back, take steps to understand the whys and if your movers are contributing to it.
By investing the time to think about what direction is best for you and the organization, you can either be sure that you are moving in the right direction or start down the path of making positive change. Make sure to get your positive movers involved. You’ll have much more success if aren’t going it alone. The good news: You’ll be surprised at how this work can pay off and make you an employer of choice.
About the Author
Mim Senft is the founder of Motivity Partnerships a workplace wellness consultancy that offers an integrated solution with vetted wellness partners that work for your culture and your team. She has over 20 years of corporate experience in project management, benefits design and wellness program strategy and implementation. She is a certified as a Worksite Wellness Specialist through the National Wellness Institute; has her GBA group benefits designation through the International Foundation of Benefit Professionals (IFEBP); her property and casualty insurance certification, Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI), through the Insurance Institute of America; and became a certified yoga instructor in 2006. Mim is a regular speaker at conferences and roundtable discussions on topics related to employee benefits, corporate wellness/wellbeing programs, and keeping a competitive edge in today’s workplace.