A fair amount of change that takes place in most corporations is really just meant to keep everyone awake and engaged. But if a company makes too many changes, employees start to feel like they are being manipulated. In time, employees can become jaded and they start posting Dilbert cartoons around the copying machines and break rooms.
One way to keep everyone on their toes without manipulating people, is to just "keep it real." Get employees engaged in the goals of the corporation without trickery. A great way to do that is with analogies. You present something that is very positive to employees that they are deeply interested in or entertained by, and then you simply ask them to draw from that topic to their work efforts. It's perhaps as old as the hills, but it work.
At Sporting Chance Press, we want people to draw positive things from sports and apply those to their lives. It can be their personal lives, but they can also draw from sports for their work lives as well.
People affectionately refer to new topics of training at big corporations as "du jours" -- the mission du jour, the model du jour, the initiative du jour. Many care more about the soup du jour than the mission du jour because they know the soup is real.
Season vets understand that much of the du jour business is simply hype. I have often wondered if the management gurus who often start these movements aren't laughing all the way to the bank over just how silly they are and how much companies are willing to pay to acquire them.
If you are really interested in getting your people fired up and enthusiastic about their jobs, why not offer them programs on more interesting topics that transfer over to business. When you think of it, a lot of what is being done with a new initiative is simply setting up a new analogy. You are asking employees to look at one subject and then transferring their understanding from it to what you have always wanted them to do from the start.
Advance the Ball
A super successful international CEO, who happens to be a women, said recently, "when I talk to my team, I use a football metaphor — every day, we have to come in and advance the ball."
A simple thought, but really a profound one that works.
Even more than football, baseball offers a never-ending source of sports analogies that provide life lessons. The 10 Commandments of Baseball offers up ten simple principles that are part and parcel of every good baseball training program and certainly a treasure trove of analogies that can help people at work become champions. At Sporting Chance Press, we saw this clearly when we began working with author, J. D. Thorne, on the "commandments." But frankly it sounds too good to be true to many people. If it isn't high tech or some new management theory, it is easily overlooked. The result: more deadly dull meetings with people straining to stay awake. I'd like to shout, "hey, there is no reason to put people to sleep at work!"
How Champions Become Champions
If you want to inspire workers to perform like champions, show them how champions become champions, get them The 10 Commandments of Baseball - or better yet, book J. D. Thorne to make his 10 Commandments presentation where he can pass out signed copies of his terrific work. Work life doesn't have to be dull!
Above is the famous Take Me Out to the Ball-Game sheet music that has been a popular part of our culture since 1908. The first part of the song tells of how Katie Casey was base ball mad and each Saturday she would tell her boyfriend that she'd rather see a ball game than go to a show. Why not capture the enthusiasm Katie Casey and millions of others have for sports and bring it into the workplace?