A few years ago, a company facing budget constraints asked employees to support the business’s belt-tightening efforts by turning off lights and equipment and turning down thermostats. A few months later, with compliance next to nil, results were negligible.
The leader decided to try a different approach. Knowing the environment is a key concern of people in this New England company, he sent out a new communication asking employees to conserve electricity as an expression of their environmental awareness and responsibility. This time, the results were very different. High levels of compliance, even enthusiasm and good-natured competition between areas.
Each time the request was identical, but the second time, the leader engaged people by linking the goal to an result that mattered to them. He made an emotional connection with employees that motivated them to create the result he was after.
When an initiative creates a breakthrough, when sales soar, when “impossible” deadlines are met, there’s a good chance the goal was stated in a way that made an emotional connection with the people who made it happen. These people saw clearly that the actions they were being asked to take would further a goal that mattered to them at the same time it supported business success.