Too Much Engagement?

Engagement.

One of the primary keys to determining all of your project requirements. A way to bring people together to collaboratively solve the challenges your project may be tasked with. A way to energize your workforce, to motivate and increase productivity, workplace satisfaction and more.

Can there ever be too much of it?

I read a recent article in the Harvard Business Review which indicated that excessive collaboration was one of the causes of employee burnout. But when you dive into the details of the article to discover what they meant by this statement, it becomes clear that their interpretation of collaboration is more aligned with micro-management and consensus. That, in order to progress with any work you are doing, everyone needs to approve - no room for creative thought or work of any sole person.

Collaboration does not need to mean consensus, nor does it need to be embedded in every step of every task you are responsible for. But it is great for figuring out what the best solutions are, ensuring schedules and budgets are aligned and compatible, minimizing risks, and to keep everything on track.

In my opinion, getting a high level of engagement on your project or within your organization can never be a bad thing. Bringing minds together, when they are open, honest and free to voice their opinions, can result in some very positive outcomes.

Some of the best ideas and solutions can be discovered, plans can be developed in a much smoother sequence, where potential issues can otherwise be avoided efficiently and effectively.

You do, of course, need to ensure that everyone comes to an agreement, and is aligned on the final scope of work to be accomplished. You also need to be sure that scope isn't creeping once a project has commenced - approved changes aside.

And of course, you need to balance the right amount of collaboration with folks taking responsibility for completing their assigned tasks within the overall plan. But this is a regular part of projects, isn't it?

I find asking questions, and then listening, to be one of the quickest ways to engage people. Everyone likes to be heard, their opinions appreciated. And different perspectives contribute new knowledge for all of us - we become a little bit smarter with each share.

In my latest webinar, I spoke about the necessities to achieve soaring performance, an obviously popular topic since we reached near full capacity for the live session, and I've since been interviewed on the topic! 

It was about how collaboration, and using particular methods and tools, can facilitate bringing people together in an open dialogue. How collaborating, and engaging your team members to use their knowledge, strengths and capabilities, triggers their intrinsic motivators - satisfying their basic human needs.

I engaged my audience from the start, and at various points throughout my talk, and perhaps this should be cause to pause - since there were so many people engaged and responsive, we bogged the webinar system down! Slides were not progressing with my audio, and sometimes the chat would freeze. 

So perhaps just one instance where too much engagement can be a bad thing!?

At any rate, I loved this last webinar. With so much engagement, it was apparent that the audience gained a lot of new insights, and that I perhaps helped just a few more people out in their journeys of self-improvement.

I also gained positive feedback on the presentation, I found out some things I could improve upon, and also learned where more support could be provided. Win-win!

And the greatest part is that now I'll be able to follow up with more value-add support - for you!

Thanks for being such a great and responsive community, and as always, keep asking questions!

Article originally published on projectmanagement.com April 10, 2017

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