Academic journal article Manager

Engaging with the Future. but Where's the Conversation?

Academic journal article Manager

Engaging with the Future. but Where's the Conversation?

Article excerpt

We know, of course, what the council is trying to do here. They are trying to be upbeat, energising and visionary. They are trying to inspire change in the area. So why am I so cynical? Partly it's because of the spectacularly scruffy building they are using to promote their aspirations and partly it's because there's absolutely no engagement with the target audience.

Individual leaders and managers also need to avoid this trap. Bold statements about the future and exhortations to colleagues to make big changes are, on their own, unlikely to inspire. The missing piece here is that, if you want to lead for a brighter future, you have to engage with people in what you are trying to do.

Engagement requires relationship, dialogue and co-invention. It's absolutely not about telling or instructing people what you want them to do. Rather it's about having a real conversation with them about your plans and policies and about how they can help, contribute and get excited about their part in creating this future.

A practical example of engagement was the director who led a dot com relaunch in a major retail business. He knew it was a big opportunity and he went and engaged a team of people from around the business to join him in this project - people who would share his vision of success, who would get motivated about the work, and who would have their own ideas about what was needed to make it fly. No surprise then that the team he recruited brought extraordinary focus, commitment and energy to the relaunch. …

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