Benevolent Hackers Exemplify Robust and Innovative Employee Engagement
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough;
we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Such a card. I was facilitating a workshop recently and we were talking about writing a message on the back of the business card. I was doing an exercise that was inspired by Mike Morrison’s The Other Side of the Business Card. Mike structures a number of exercises where people can use the blank side of their business card to work on their work. To the chagrin of one participant her business card was full of stuff on both sides. One side had her position, department, and contact information while the other side had the corporate and logo and tagline.
Hack your business card. We were lamenting the lack of white space at work and she stated how much information she used to put on the back of her card for clients, how useful they would find this bite size referral or information, and how often they would be still clinging to the card during the next appointment. I had some blank business cards with me for people who didn’t have business cards and I gave her one to use for the exercise. Within a moment she had envisioned a hack for her work. She stated she would get a whole bunch of blank cards and glue them to the back of her card so that she could reclaim the power of this small yet powerful tool that was so helpful for clients and played a strong role in achieving the organization’s goals.
Break rules to achieve results. Bill Jensen and Josh Klein would say this was an example of hacking your work. Bill and Josh joined forces to encourage benevolent rule breakers with, Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results. They have developed a great resources on how to customize your work for results. Become a benevolent hacker. Their idea was profiled in the top 10 breakthrough ideas for 2010 published by the Harvard Business Review.
Hacking snippet. Here is a snippet on hacking from the Breakthrough Idea for 2010:
Hack work, and embrace the others in your midst who care enough to do so. Hackers work around the prescribed ways of doing things to achieve their goals. The benevolent among them do this rule bending for the good of all.
You probably already are a hacker. I believe we may be hacking more than we know. As I read the book I realized in my past that I often worked around certain workplace rules to best serve my clients and the organization. For example, I was an employee assistance counsellor for a large distillery in Canada. Rather than seeing my clients in an office I would often sit with them as they were driving a truck around the plant site or go to their homes to see them or see them on the shore of the lake near the distillery. This ensured they got the help they needed without being self-conscious and coming to a counsellor’s office.
Shattered control. The illusion of corporate control is being shattered in the name of increased personal productivity. Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler from Forrester Research and authors ot the book, Empowered, stated more than one-third of U.S. information workers use technologies their companies have not sanctioned. What hacking are you already doing that is breaking a rule and benefiting your customer or organization?
Start hacking. Here are 4 guidelines on selecting what to hack:
- Select the 3 things that drive you most crazy at work
- Learn more about each one
- For your first hack, keep it simple
- Determine success; start with the result you want to achieve.
Hacking for the good of all. Hacking Work is packed with tips, perspectives, cautions, and approaches to help you become an engaged hacker. I believe one of the highest levels of employee engagement is when employees think well beyond their role and workplace policies to determine what they can engage with to best serve the organization, customers, leaders, and themselves.
Double your breakthrough with the power of progress. In the same HBR list of breakthrough ideas for 2010 was Teresa Amabile and Steven Krammer’s piece on what really motivates workers. According to their extensive research, based on 12,000 daily diary entries of motivation and emotion, the top motivator for workers is progress. Their idea focused mostly on how managers can foster progress for workers. If you think about it for a second, hacking work is a strong method to put progress within each worker’s hands while increasing movtivation and building strong and robust employee engagement based on real progress.
4 Engaged Hacking Actions:
- Read Hacking Work
- Determine what you can do to improve work and progress by thinking outside the set way of “doing things.”
- Start hacking and monitor your results.
- Begin workplace conversations on what we are lacking by not hacking.
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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement. He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3000 member Employee Engagement Network. David wrote, Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work. David’s website offers 1100 free posts/articles on the engagement. David is committed to fostering a movement to increase employee engagement 20% by 2020.
Connect with David Zinger today to improve engagement where you work.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Phone 204 254 2130 – Visit: www.davidzinger.com