Learning from Master Banks

  |   Engagement Print Friendly and PDF

I love being a grandparent. It’s got most of the joys of parenting without the day-to-day grind.

You can spoil your grandkids. It’s OK. You can say things you could never say as a parent. That includes: “He needs to be changed. Here.”

Last Saturday evening, the Princess and I indulged our grandparentness by taking care of Banks, the newest grandchild. This enabled our daughter and son-in-law to go out for dinner with friends to celebrate his birthday.

I anticipated the fun. I did not anticipate the learning.

Banks is now about seven months old. Right now his big challenge is learning to turn over. He really works at it.

He tries and tries and tries. He gets half-way over and falls back. He grins and tries again. He only stops when he runs out of energy.

When people in business do that, we call it “engagement.” We bemoan the lack of it.

It’s really our own fault. When most people show up for work on the first day, they’re charged up and ready to go. They’re like Banks.

It doesn’t last. At most companies that energy and commitment start to drain away almost immediately until for some people it’s almost entirely gone.

Since I doubt that engagement entropy is in our DNA, my guess is that it’s the result of something we do. Or maybe something we don’t do.

We didn’t wait for Banks to make the perfect roll before we praised him. We applauded his effort. We encouraged him. We cheered the slightest improvement.

Maybe, just maybe, if we treated our people more like we treat Banks, they’ll act with energy and purpose, more like he does.

Boss’s Bottom Line

Praise is like a chemical catalyst. Add it to your workplace and it can produce magical improvements in morale and productivity and growth.

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