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Convert Motions Into Emotions.

People work because they have to, but they only engage when they want to. Unlocking that desire means artfully tapping into people’s discretionary efforts by finding out how to get them interested.

People work because they have to, but they only engage when they want to. Unlocking that desire means artfully tapping into people’s discretionary efforts by finding out how to get them interested.

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I’ve heard that people spend more than 40% of their waking hours going through the motions in organizations that cut their paychecks. Leaders have a huge opportunity to convert these motions into the emotions that will transform how they feel about contributing their hard work to execute your strategy.

The trick is to find out what people care about and want to be involved in. I remember a conversation with my son Blake when he was in the 5th grade. After the usual “What did you learn in school today?” conversation, I asked him what he was curious about. He asked, “How does Caller ID know who’s calling? And where does the color come from in clear bubble bath?” I told him I’d get back to him on those.

But then he blew me away with the next question: “As you go higher, there’s less oxygen, and when you make a fire, you need oxygen for the fire to burn. So if the sun is so high and there’s no oxygen up there, how come it burns so brightly?”

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It dawned on me that leaders couldn’t hope to create a more engaging and enticing way to tell their people about anything than by starting with what they are curious about! When leaders can capture people’s imagination, they engage them in an entirely new way. And on the flip side, when leaders don’t bother to find out what employees want to know, they miss a huge opportunity to help them “get it.”

We might even take this concept one step further. How about seeing employees as customers, and using the understanding about their curiosity and interests in a segmented approach to engaging their emotions…just like our customers?

So as a leader, what can you do? Just ask your people what they’re most curious about in your business. What do you think they want to know? How could you find out? Create an environment where people feel safe asking questions about what they’re curious about and see what happens to the engagement levels at your company.

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