June 27, 2005

Good day, team,

This week I’m inspired by the following quote from Harry Overstreet: “The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate. The mind that can do that has a powerful leverage on his human world. What’s the best way to get others to participate? Participate yourself.”

I’ve been talking with some of my clients about what makes people participate with each other in the work place*. The consensus is that our willingness to engage and actively work with others encourages them to do the same. No manager or leader can afford to tell people what to do from a distance. It’s imperative that the people who work for you see you actively engaged in their business and their challenges.

Ford was the first automaker to use assembly lines to produce automobiles. You can imagine how hesitant the plant workers were to try something so revolutionary. Within the first few days of production, Henry Ford was out on the floor, showing his employees how the assembly line worked and how he was adapting to this new way of doing things. He wasn’t afraid to make mistakes, and he appeared to be truly enjoying the experience. He was an active role model.

We strongly influence others when we show our willingness to be open-minded, open-hearted, and willing to engage at any level. And besides motivating others, there are two more reasons for getting into the trenches with your team members: You find out what the work is really about and you learn what your customers are saying. Ultimately, we all are in the customer service business. We need to hear what our customers are saying, what they’re experiencing, what they need, and whether they’re satisfied to stay on top of our business.

Your challenge this week is to actively engage with people you work with at all levels. Take a cue from Henry Ford: find out exactly what people are doing and try it yourself. They will appreciate your engagement, and you might just learn something valuable about your customers.

Have a great week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

* Special thanks to Howard Eaton, Customer Service Manager at Wells Fargo Bank in Des Moines, for encouraging me to send this challenge out this week.

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