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Engagement Challenges – A Personal Perspective

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Engagement Challenges – A Personal Perspective

One of my favourite films when growing up was ‘Back to the Future’.
Marty Mcfly was a legend!

In the sequel, set in 2015 we were promised a future of hover boards, self lacing trainers and self drying jackets, pretty cool stuff that’ll be on my Christmas list this year! (Too soon to talk about Christmas? Never!)

I had a momentary opportunity to reminisce the other day by watching the film again. The beginning of a new year is often a time for reflection and thinking about the future, both personal and professional.

I found myself asking questions such as…
How have things gone?
What could be improved?
What’s going to happen now?

Throughout the course of last year I’d been focused on an engagement project of my own, bringing with it fresh challenges and the introduction of new approaches. There was no time machine or flux capacitor as part of my toolkit. Dealing with the situation as it stood and making the future a positive one for all involved was the priority.

I needed a good grip on the most effective approaches that would support the change needed:

Conversation 
Spending time talking about the change
Exploring the barriers
Painting a picture of the future in a meaningful and digestible manner

Sharing stories
How have we felt about it?
What has motivated me personally and why?
What are my hopes for the future?

Goal setting 
Exploring the goals together
Shaping and planning
Agreeing rewards when goals are achieved

And a grasp of the tools that would support my challenge:

YouTube
Learning from the YouTube Superstars
Lighthearted, educational videos based around specific issues
Lifehack channels with their tips and ideas
Gamer style ‘how to’s’

Vine
6 second factoids, fast, fun and often humorous

Gaming
Infiltrating my audience’s world to seed thoughts

Experiential
Getting out into the world, sharing experiences together and making connections back to the challenge – there’s nothing better from an educational perspective.

And the challenge itself?

You may have realised from some of the examples above that this wasn’t a professional challenge.

Keeping my son engaged at school required some increased attention.

He’s a good boy, he loves being with his friends, playing Xbox and watching YouTube. These are his priorities. I want him to enjoy these things but I also have priorities for him. I’m sure you may have experienced similar when leading people in a work environment, maybe even when working with senior leaders. They have their focus but you must influence how they see things to achieve what you know is important.

From my perspective the biggest issue is and will always be time. As a single parent, time is always being stretched and continuity can be difficult to maintain. This challenge has had a fresh lens put on things. He reached a landmark birthday, 13, on New Years Day. There’s a continual need for support albeit, at times, different to what he’s needed previously. Often in a work context we talk and think about change that we instigate or we can see coming. But there’s also a need to adjust and shape the way in which we do things gradually and incrementally over time. To identify this we must take time to reflect.

Connecting personal and professional experiences

I tend to make connections between personal experiences and work. Our projects are focused on engaging people, real people. We don’t suddenly become different when we walk through the office doors so we shouldn’t lose sight of those common feelings, particularly around change.

How have you dealt with personal change? Perhaps a house move, changes in relationships or the loss of a loved one. These are all things that can help guide us through engagement challenges to help us consider how individuals may be feeling at any particular time.

A few things to think about…

  • Change is constant – having the right mindset to deal with it is crucial. Strategy and plans are great but allow for flexibility
  • Next time there’s a bump in the road with a scenario at work, perhaps think about how you would deal with it if it were a personal challenge
  • As much as outside influence can derail the best-made plans, it can also enhance them
  • Being agile and responding to the challenge of the moment is crucial but try not to lose sight of the bigger picture

Thanks,
Alan

If you’d like to share your thoughts on this, feel free to email me or tweet me @alivewithideas

Ps. Just in case you’re wondering, Alfie achieved his goals and was rewarded as agreed

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