• Scott McInnes

73 | Make what you do more human!

I'm forever talking to clients about how critical it is to tell stories and engage their people with emotion! Because it's only when you can add some emotion into a story - WHY you do what you do - that it really connects with your people.

When you can make what you do relate to everyday life and show the impact it can have on human interactions, that's when you're able to really bring your people with you.

I saw this advert on TV last night (albeit dubbed over in an Irish accent) and it struck me as a really good case in point.

With Alexa you can do a myriad of things - ask for the time, play music, ask questions, set a timer, turn heating and lights on and off; buy things and much more. She'll even fart or burp on demand (much to the delight of the children. And she has a vague sense of humour (whisper 'Alexa, do you work for the CIA' to her when you get home and see what she says! :-).

But it was this TV ad that brought the human element. It wasn't about Alexa's functionality or the clever things she can do to save time and make things easier.

It was about the human.

About the distraught teenager, coming back from a soccer match, pissed off and, no doubt, questioning her ability. And later, that same teen, getting up at 4.30 in the morning to go out in the dark and snow and practice penalty kicks in the garden.

Yes, Alexa was there playing music (silenced with a quick "Alexa, off"); she told the mother the ungodly hour of the night and remotely turned on the garden lights so the daughter didn't have to practice in the dark.

But it was all to show the part that Alexa played in the other story - the angst of a teenage girl who lost a soccer match. And it works because we've all been there and we can relate to the child and the mother.

It tugs at our heart strings! A bit like the film that Philips made that I talked about in a previous blog. It wasn't about their products but about the impact those products had on the lives of the people who used them.

So how can you get what you do to tug at the heartstrings of your employees?

  • Create a great purpose statement - WHY you do what you do is way more important than what you do or how you do it. So spend some time working out your WHY and create a really compelling purpose statement that connects your people to your customers and their experiences

  • Bring that statement to life - A purpose statement is only as good as the stories that bring it to life. So find stories that really show your purpose making a difference and tell your people in a video, an intranet article, at a town hall or in team meetings. Or better still - ask your staff to find stories for you. As the ones on the front line, they're more likely to be able to see the difference your company is making for your customers and feed those stories back.

I was chatting to a contact this week who said that "It's amazing that companies will spend millions of euros on tech or systems to realise 2% increases in productivity. But those same companies won't look at how that productivity can be increased many more-fold than that by simply focusing on engaging their people"

So, maybe it's time to think about how you can engage your people a bit more?


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