Celebrating a Culture of Engagement – with Abandon!

By: Anne Branigan
Senior Vice President – Innovative Services, Greater Omaha Chamber

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day working isn’t it?  Deadlines, opportunities to seize, fires to put out – that is often the stuff that grabs our attention and time.

But what really matters? People.

We are surrounded by co-workers, and it’s their attitudes and actions that affect us daily. They can either leverage us to a better place mentality or produce a better business outcome OR they can be a source of anger, anxiety and disappointment. Gallup, among others, notes how important an organizational culture of engagement is to business outcomes. My gut also confirms this!

At the Chamber, we have a tag line – “Accomplish more. Together.” – that pretty much sums up HOW we work and our overall philosophy. Yes, there are tasks that each of us accomplishes on our own.  However, our really big goals – the ones focused on championing a thriving business community and prosperous region – take A LOT of people to accomplish. Any number of our initiatives or programs may involve dozens of staff and volunteers.

People determine our success.

So, how do you lead for engagement and gain the best possible business success?  By recognizing the simple fact that success is a joint effort and individuals choose every day what level of “their all” they are bringing to a task. It is much less about command and control and much more about creating an environment where people choose to thrive and help build. I believe being a leader people want to follow means nurturing a culture that is inclusive to a variety of thoughts and empowers folks to do what they do best every day. A leader encourages bravery so well thought-out risks are taken. You don’t flinch at brutal honesty; you learn from failures; and you celebrate authentically and with abandon!

A leader encourages bravery
so well thought-out risks are taken.

It’s not easy, and cultures of engagement can take years to build because it is about the actions, not the words.  The Gallup Great Workplace Award asked us some hard questions.  We had to look in the mirror and think about what was going well – and what we couldn’t brag about.  Some questions initially had us scratching our heads about the best response, so we asked our staff how they would answer.  That got the juices flowing for what, I hope, is an authentic story of our organization.

We aren’t perfect by any means, but I believe we help each other to become better every week.  It is simply freaking awesome to be recognized for that!  Thanks to Gallup and thanks to each of my co-workers for making us, as Gallup noted, one of “35 companies who lead the world in creating cultures of engagement.”  Don’t know about the rest of you, but I am ready to celebrate with abandon!

Leave a Reply