Every organization undergoes times of excitement and times of stress; times of success and times of failure. We also have times when things seem so calm, we wonder if we are alive or not. Sometimes I want to hold a leadership mirror up to our organizations collective nostril and look for signs of life. Sure we are all going through the motions we are expected to do, but there is no passion driving us. Connected to these times, of organizational malaise is often a sense of hopelessness. “Things will never get better.” “Our best days are behind us.” “This is good as it will ever get.” When this happens we need to bring our leadership team together and revive the hope that often brought us together in the first place.
Here are some questions for group discussion in a meeting to rediscover the hope. They are designed to bring people from the sense of melancholy back to renewed passion, hope and expectation. Encourage everyone to participate, and don’t rush the discussion along. Let the stragglers catch up with the naturally hopefully ones, or they will be left behind to become your loudest cynics.
- When was the last time you had passion for what we do here?
- When was the last time you received a compliment for a job well done?
- When was the last time you gave someone else that compliment?
- What is the best thing we do?
- Where do we need the most improvement?
- What is it that we do you feel is a total waste of time for our organization?
- If you were to remake us from top to bottom, how would you re-engineer our organization (not personnel)?
- What do you wish we could do that we presently don’t?
- What would you like to be able to tell your family about how we do things here?
- Dream big… Brainstorm together… How could things be?
- What would be the first steps to get there?… The second steps?… Third?…
Then: Take responsibility; make assignments; set people free to “try alternatives”; assign smaller groups to fix, renew, invent, create, publicize, or dream, as is appropriate.
Sometimes our people need to reconnect with a vision and passion for what can be. Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” As leaders we need to help our people keep the vision alive. If you don’t like these questions, make your own. My encouragement is that we leaders recognize when the spark has left the eyes of our people, and we work actively to re-energize that life, that passion, and that hope back into our organization for a brighter and more productive future.