5. Master Moments – The healthy and productive path to great micromanagement
(Part 6 of a 10 part series on how managers can improve employee engagement)
Making moments. Engagement resides in the moment. Learn to master moments from high quality connections to powerful touch points. When we balance challenge and skills we enter the flow zone as we dwell and work within the moment. In addition, focusing our work within the moment alleviates work stress.
6 ways to engage the moment:
- Access even 1% of the 20,000 opportunities for engagement.
- Be a micro-manager, really!
- Reach out and TouchPoint somebody.
- Transform IQ into HQI to power up the organization.
- Dwell in the moment to banish stress.
- Intersect challenge and skill to find flow.
Access even 1% of the 20,000 opportunities for engagement. According to Nobel Prize-winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day. Each “moment” lasts a few seconds and each offers an opportunity to engage. Within a moment we can fuse with our task at hand for full engagement or reach out beyond ourselves to appreciate and recognize others. Even at just 1% fulfillment we would experience 200 powerful and engaged moments everyday.
Be a micro-manager, really! Generally, being a micromanager is not perceived to be an admirable quality in a manager or a helpful connection to the manager or work for the employee. But what if we manage our moments and focus on our moments of interaction. Small things make a big difference. Engagement, to be effective, must be reduced to the verb of engage and when we fully engage the moment seemingly miraculous things begin to occur. Instead of the energy sapping interaction of micromanagement based on command and control of trivial details become a manager of the micro moments of work by enhancing connection, input, interaction, authenticity, and co-creation.
Reach out and TouchPoint somebody. This approach to managing engagement is the Campbell Chicken Soup for the Organization as it originates from the former CEO of Campbell soup, Doug Conant. Doug used TouchPoints to transform Gallup’s dismal engagement scores at Campbell Soup into some of the best scores Gallup has seen. Doug believes the moment of interruption is the real work of management. Each of the many connections you make has the potential to become a high point or a low point in someone’s day. The point of getting in touch is that each touch point has the opportunity to “establish high performance expectation, to infuse the agenda with great clarity and more energy, and to influence the course of events…TouchPoints take place any time two or more people get together to deal with an issue and get something done” (page 2). Our interruption interactions are not distractions but rather the real work of management. In the moment of engagement action resides in the interaction.
Transform IQ into HQI to power up the organization. Jane Dutton believes that there is tremendous power in our connections and interactions and we must guard against corrosive connections that corrode motivation, loyalty, commitment and engagement. Rather, we must enhance high-quality connections or interactions marked by mutual positive regard, trust, and active engagement on both sides. A cornerstone of high quality connections is respectful engagement characterized by being present to others, affirming them, and communicating and listening in a way that manifests regard and an appreciation of the other person’s worth. Even small acts of respectful engagement infuse a relationship with greater energy. An ongoing stream of high quality interaction by people within an organization may be the single most powerful way to renew and contribute to an organization’s energy to achieve results through strong relationships. It takes some energy to initiate a high quality interaction but usually we find a return of energy through the interaction.
Dwell in the moment to banish stress. If you make where you are going more important than where you are there may be no point in going. Stephan Rechtschaffen stated in Time Shifting: ”there is no stress in the present moment.” Rechtschaffen advocates time awareness — living fully in the moment. The practice of timeshifting recognizes that every moment has a particular rhythm to it, and that we have the capacity to expand or contract an individual moment. One way to shift what’s going on in our world is not to try to rush to do more, but to allow ourselves to go deeper into that moment. Our ability to shift gears, to shift our rhythm to meet that moment and be present in it. We waste great chunks of time by thinking about what we’ve just done and what we’ve got to do next, instead of what we’re doing now. Much of our stress comes from regret and dread. Rechtschaffen offers a number of practical tips to improve our moments at work:
- Get to meetings early so you can compose yourself before the others arrive.
- When the phone rings, let it ring one extra time to “get centered.”
- Practice “mindfulness” by doing just one thing at a time, giving it your full attention.
- Pause after you finish one task before beginning another. If possible, make it last for several minutes.
- While waiting for a fax or an elevator, think about the present instead of succumbing to the rush and anxiety of tasks still waiting.
Intersect challenge and skill to find flow. Work in the moment by working on tasks that balance challenge and skills level. Csíkszentmihályi’s book Flow is over 21 years old yet offers timeless perspective and advice on how we approach a state of great time shifting or über engagement. He has found that we experience more flow in work than our leisure time and suggests we frequently overlook the richness of the experience engagement at work offers us. Many of the current game developers have studied flow very closely to ensure their games are designed to help players experience flow. We need to do the same in our workplaces. Some of the key characteristics that promote flow at work are:
- Clear goals – expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one’s skill set and abilities.
- Concentration – a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention.
- Lack of self-consciousness – the merging of action and awareness.
- Timelessness – one’s subjective experience of time is altered.
- Powerful feedback – successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed.
- Balance of ability and challenge – the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult.
- Sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
- Intrinsic rewards, so there is an effortlessness of action.
- Full aborption into the activity, narrowing of the focus of awareness down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.
Read these 5 sources to enhance your engagement and put you in the moment:
- Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard, TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments.
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
- Edward Hallowell: Crazybusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD
- Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, How Full is Your Bucket?
- Stephan Rechtschaffen, Time Shifting: A Guide to Creating More Time to Enjoy Your Life.
Building the pyramid of employee engagement. Review the 6 previous posts listed below as we build the 10 block pyramid of employee engagement actions for managers:
- 12 Keys to Achieve Results with Employee Engagement
- 6 Ways Managers Can Maximize Performance through Employee Engagement
- 7 Significant Steps to Employee Engagement Progress
- 4 Ways Managers Can Build Relationship BACKbone into Employee Engagement
- Don’t Blink: How to Foster Recognition for Employee Engagement
Next post in this series: Why employee engagement needs to be strong stuff.
View Moments. I strongly encourage you to watch the wonderful 4 minute brilliant video on moments at the end of this article.
David Zinger built the 10 block pyramid of employee engagement to help managers bring the full power of employee engagement to their workplaces. If you would like to arrange to have this course or workshop for your organization or conference contact David today at 204 254 2130 or email@example.com.
Bonus Video: Moments