How do you engage employees with a vision? Like this.
Those of you who provide professional services will know just how challenging – but also how necessary – it can be to take a dose of your own medicine sometimes.
Despite the economic downturn the Delta7 team has grown rapidly over the last three years as our reputation has spread and we’ve been able to help more and more global businesses to engage their people with tough but critical messages about change. In these difficult times, many of our clients are in the process of reshaping their businesses to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing and increasingly global market. For their employees, this stage of the growth process can be profoundly unsettling with a loss of familiar brands, faces, processes and even locations – regardless of the opportunities and new horizons that this change also brings.
Our recent growth presents us with challenges too, as we move past that small team dynamic. With it goes the office we’ve called home since the beginning and some of the informal ways of doing things that are the luxury of a very small business. In short, we – like our clients – are growing up.
Recently one of our clients expressed her surprise that we didn’t have our own ‘Big Picture’ that captured the vision and character of Delta7. It was a great and timely piece of feedback. But why didn’t we? Perhaps it’s because we’re only now that at a stage where a big picture makes sense for us. Maybe it’s because we’re so busy working on pictures and stories for our clients that we run out of time to look back at ourselves and where we’re going. In my view it’s a bit of both of and something else as well: fear. It can be scary putting your vision on the line and then waiting to find out what the rest of the business feels about it.
Steve and Julian, our directors, took a deep breath and created a Big Picture of their shared vision for our growing business. Last week, we got together as a complete team (minus only two on maternity leave) and spent a whole day doing exactly what we help our clients to do: making sense of where we’re going together.
The day was, of course, very visual with everyone picking up a pencil and contributing some visuals to the process. We had fun reviewing where we’d come from; looking at those things that were working for us as well as those that weren’t. And for the things that weren’t working so well, we asked each other the question “So what would work better?” with the result that we were all able to contribute positively to the Big Picture.
Just as it is for our clients, our Big Picture session was a chance to stand back from the day-to-day rush of client work and to spend some time looking at what really matters to us as individuals as well as a business. What we ended up with on the day won’t turn into a painting of a perfect world; our pictures aren’t meant for that. What we created together is a picture that captures the things that matter most to us that we can use to prompt further discussion as and when the need arises.
Making our picture was a milestone in our growth as a business and as a group of people. From this point onwards not only will we be able to show our clients a Big Picture of our own vision and talk about it confidently, but we’ll also feel congruent – in the knowledge that we’ve taken our own medicine and benefitted from it too.