Today is our last post on how to use The Engagement Spiral©. For those of you just joining us, here is a list of the previous posts, click on the link to read those you have missed:
The Engagement Spiral© Overview
Step 2: Teach People How to Provide Input
Step 3: Take Input to the Relevant Decision-Makers
Step 4: Use the Input and Perspective They Provide.
In our years of coaching, we have seen over and over again that it is extremely frustrating for people to be told that their input is important, yet see no evidence of how (or whether) their input was used. In many ways, telling people that their ideas, input and perspectives matter and then not demonstrating how their input was used (or explaining why it was not used) is more erosive then doing nothing. Therefore, the last two steps of the Engagement spiral are about bringing the conversation to a close and closing the loop.
The last two steps of The Engagement Spiral© are Step 5: Give People Specific Feedback on How Their Input was Used and Step 6: Demonstrate that Their Input and Perspective Matter which, when completed, brings you full circle to the top of the spiral. This is how you take each step:
Step 5: Give People Specific Feedback on How Their Input was Used It is critical that you go back to the people who have given you input and tell them, specifically, how you have used their input and what the outcome of that use will be.
For example, if you asked people to provide input on a how a project is proceeding:
- You would first tell them that you took their input to the people who are making the decisions about the future of the project.
- If you used their input to refine and fine-tune the project, tell them how their input was influential and what changes you made to the project plan.
- If you were unable to integrate their suggestions, tell them your rationale for that decision. (The idea of telling people that you are not going to do what they have suggested can freak you out a bit, this is where most people get stuck.)
- Overall, what people need most is to feel heard and valued and they will, for the most part, understand that there are times that you are unable to do exactly what they suggested, especially if you can provide a full and thoughtful rationale for your decision.
- At first, people may grumble, particularly if there is a history of asking for input and not using it, but if you fully explain your rationale in a way that helps them understand how it benefits the organization and then continue to ask for and eventually use their input, they will start to trust that your intention is to truly use it.
Step 6: Demonstrate that Their Input and Perspective Matter
When you close this conversation with them, you demonstrate that they matter. Closing a conversation is a sign of respect and it allows you to show them that you value their time, thoughts, ideas, and contributions.
With that closing conversation, you will have completed “a loop” in The Engagement Spiral©. Remember, finishing “a loop” actually starts an upward spiral of engagement and trust. By using this process again and again, you begin to create an upward spiral. The first few times around the loop, engagement and trust are tenuous. The more times around the loop, the greater the engagement and trust, and the more difficult it is to fall back into old patterns.
We’d love to hear how you used The Engagement Spiral© in your life – with your permission, we’ll even share some of those stories in a future Monday Morning Business Coach.