Friday, September 21, 2012

Engagement: The Jean Luc--Picard Way!

Many would remember the character Jean-Luc Picard played by Patrick Stewart from the popular television show, "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

Picard was that self-assured, confident and reliable 24th Century Starfleet captain who guided his crew of the USS Enterprise across the endless reaches of space basically moving from one adventure to the next.  Whether it was doing battle with Klingons or resisting the Borg, Picard could always be counted on to be that fearless leader who his team could rely on.

I loved the show a lot and was really drawn to the cast of compelling characters from Data the android to first officer William Riker.  The occasional Whoopi Goldberg sighting was quite enjoyable as well. Overall, all the characters were great but by far, Jean-Luc was always the most appealing one to me.

He had a confidence and assertiveness to him that came across loud and clear and there was never a doubt that he was unsure or uncertain of what he was saying or what he wanted from others.  For example, look at the signature phrase he used to order for the Enterprise to blast off onto the next mission.  

It merely consisted of one word, "Engage!" 

That's it! No extended speech, no rant or no diatribe.

But the best part about it was that the entire crew got it and knew what exactly needed to be done.

The irony with Picard's one word command and hand gesture is that the actual process of engagement between leaders, coaches or star fleet captains is that it goes beyond just saying one word.

Effective leaders recognize that a key component of a healthy thriving organization is a well thought out and even better executed engagement strategy.  They also know that a foundational piece of a sustainable engagement is the strength of our relationships with others that include trust, respect and transparency.

So bearing that in mind, here are a few suggestions on some great ways leaders can engage those around them:
  • Play your position - Allowing team members do or be a part of things they enjoy will increase the likelihood of maintaining their level of interest and connection to the organization;
  • Stick to the clipboard - Clear messages that don't contradict previous directions will help ensure that you can be followed and your destination is clear;  

  • High five - Appropriate recognition or praise tells others that their efforts are appreciated and valued;

  • Keep the scoreboard running - Ideally any person on the team or in the organization should be able to clearly articulate where the organization is going; 

  • Step up your game - Be supportive of team member's individual growth development;
  • Be a point guard - Empower others so they can freely make their own decisions, this will likely increase their accountability because they have ownership of the decisions made.

If the organization or culture demonstrates that it cares about its followers then they'll be more apt to do things like stay late to finish a project, put in extra practice time to improve their game or stand up to the Borg for the sake of the universe.

So my messages to leaders and coaches is quite simple: Make It So!

See you on the court! Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

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