If you find yourself at work and there’s a soulful quiet in the air, it might be a good time to plan ahead for your 2016 engagements. The times when I have worked over the holidays have always brought mixed emotions: a little self-pity, and a whole lot of productivity. Don’t despair – particularly if you have a wicked-awesome holiday planned for March. Here are two things I’ve done over the holidays that have paid dividends all year round.
1. If you work in a large organization, seek to get copies and review other departments’ work plans, including the organization’s strategic plan. This will give you some indication of what kind of projects are on other departments’ radar, and you’ll be able to identify opportunities for engagement or strategic communications.
Often, even the most engagement-inclined individuals can see engagement as too much effort or a hassle if they don’t already have it in their plan. Help them out by identifying early where engagement might play an important role in their project. By being proactive you get to support your colleagues and overall organizational decision making. This can also help establish a degree of certainty in your own work plan.
2. If your organization has done engagement work in 2015, now’s a good time to document, evaluate and reflect on what worked well, what could have been improved, and how the engagement process influenced the ultimate decision. For loads of people, the engagement proof is in the pudding… aka the result or decision.
So, what did an engagement undertaken by your organization in 2015 achieve? Were you able to make decisions faster? Were the decisions you made better, more sustainable? Did you grow your social capital and reputation? Did you create joint ownership of your decision with your stakeholders?
I continue to learn that it is not just about doing good work, but also documenting and evaluating the good work so that it can become a best practice and evidence of the value of engagement.
Doing these two simple things is not difficult, but I find they also take a degree of quiet and reflection – elements that are not always found in the rush of January, the push to the end of government fiscal, or the launch of a new calendar year. So buy a beautiful new notebook, splurge on a latte and start planning for the most productive engagement year you’ve ever had.