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Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

Calling All Leaders to Prioritize

investYes, the press had a field day with AIG’s extravagant conferences. But were they really executive boondoggles? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean we should all say “NO” to legitimate conferences and events.

It’s time to stop letting the media and Washington zap our freedom to invest in talent and host meetings. People are being driven by fear these days. They want answers and need to connect and retool. It’s time to invest in recovery by bringing people together where they can grow, stretch, network, and develop.

More so than ever leaders must find ways to re-create a sense of sanity and security among their employees. For business to succeed everyone must be on board, working at full-throttle, and headed in the right direction!

Now is NOT the time to cancel meetings, cut training and development budgets, or nix conferences. Today leaders must be willing to defy business as usual! Now is the time to get creative, re-engage, re-tool and re-invest in people! There is great value, importance and ROI in investing in people and developing talent.

The good news is, leaders have a shot at creating sanity and security—if they make it a priority! Let us share four critical priorities leaders can deploy inside their organizations to re-inspire commitment, loyalty, and continued learning among their people.

Priority #1 Re-engage employees.

Realize employees are scared and insecure. Leaders must fuel and work purposefully to re-inspire commitment and loyalty back into their teams. People need to be reassured of the organization’s goals and direction. Engage in conversations to help everyone align their talents, skills, and projects to the goals and direction of the business. Focus and clarity provide guidance and are reassuring.

Priority #2 Get your people to prioritize.

Revisit roles, shake up responsibilities, clarify expectations, and define the bigger YES for individuals and for teams. Challenge everyone to identify 2-3 high-leverage, proactive projects, initiatives, or value-add assignments that align with your goals. Urge them to be proactive in allocating their time. Remind people to avoid the tendency to get sucked into the “urgent but unimportant” time trap.

Priority #3 Check in with employees.

If you’ve got people who seem to be attitudinally and/or behaviorally checked-out, draw them back into the game. Spend time with them, work side by side; not to do their job or fix the situation, but to simply “be there.” Feeling it can be even better than fixing it. Ask, listen, and show people you are interested and you care.

Priority #4 Support learning.

All the rules we live and work by have changed and will continue to do so. Every industry, every business, every team, every leader must make learning a huge priority. Training, intra-preneurial projects, book clubs, and stretch assignments are a must. Learning builds skill, confidence, and loyalty—three priceless gifts that talented people long for, appreciate, and immediately put into practice! Do it, endorse it, role model it, and fund it!