Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Spread Enthusiasm and Good News in the Workplace

I used to love the morning activity in elementary school; in fact, it was so powerful I still remember it. And, that was many (many) years ago. My teacher had a good news activity, which was similar to show and tell but more memorable (other than my kindergarten classmate who brought in their pet monkey…that was memorable). The Good News discussions encouraged us to feel comfortable sharing good news, and to be excited about the success and accomplishments of other people. I remember this part of school very fondly. We can apply this same activity in our workplace to foster engagement, passion about the work, and a sense of hope.
As you go into the New Year, what would it be like to create a ripple effect of enthusiasm with your team and throughout your organization? Imagine people spreading good news instead of harmful gossip. Here are a few tips on creating a positive contagion of good news:

1. Invite colleagues to share “good news” (their own or good news about others) in staff meetings, in fact, you may want to build this topic in as a standing agenda item.
2. Include a good news, applause or success section of your company newsletter.
3. Have a Good News section of your bulletin board in the coffee room or in some other area that is accessible to team members.
4. Ask your colleagues and team members for ideas on sharing good news (and finding out about good news).
5. Acknowledge successes, accomplishments and progress in supervision meetings, performance reviews and during goal setting discussions.
6. Have a bulletin board where employees can post pictures, news articles and memorabilia of employees’ families, weddings, graduations, vacations, new grandchildren, and other accomplishments or successes.
7. Sponsor projects with employee participation in community service – clean up litter, volunteer a day a month, help make meals at a local shelter, walk dogs for SPCA, build houses with Habitat for Humanity, hold educational fairs for the community. Take lots of photos and get video testimonials from the staff and their families that participated.
8. Hold “grapevine” type meetings (informal meetings with an open agenda giving all employees a chance to ask questions and to set rumors straight) at least once a month. This often alleviates destructive rumors and gives employees the opportunity to get behind the change and spread positive news.
9. Ask employees to share their client success stories (respecting confidentiality) with others in the business who are further removed from direct customer service/client service.
10. You were caught providing great service activities. In schools, they often have “you were caught doing something great” campaigns. I have seen many workplaces modify this for their workplace: “you were caught with a great idea!” or “you were caught providing superior customer service” or “you were caught walking the talk- living our company values” or “someone recognized you for an act of kindness.”

I would welcome hearing your ideas about how your company is spreading good news!

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