Creating an Enterprise 2.0 Environment: The Power of CHOICE in Work Assignments

Much has been said about the importance of Gamification and Motivation when it comes to creating the right environment for Enterprise 2.0 cultural transformation to take hold in the workplace; so forgive me for adding yet more commentary on the subject.

I do want to talk about Motivation today but specifically in the context of CHOICE.

To start off I'll tell a story.

Typically Saturdays are chore day at the Hodges house. As my kids are getting older I've been including them more and more in the chores to teach them how to be involved in the upkeep and running of a household as well as a good old fashioned work ethic.

How this usually goes is something like this:

Me: Kids, it's time for Saturday chores!
Kids: Awww Dad. Do we have to?
Me: Yes kids. Isaiah, you do this, this and this. Demaris, you do this and this. Elijah, you do this. (Elijah only gets one THIS as he's 4 and his primary chore is to not interfere with his older brother and sister)

The kids then proceed to half heartedly go about doing the things I've asked them to do. This involves many "Can I be done yet's?" and many "Is this good enough's?" Usually also involves some fighting, no one really helps each other and I don't get much done myself as most of my time is spent policing...

Sound like your house? Maybe it's only at my place.

ENTER A CHANGE OF STRATEGY INVOLVING THE POWER OF CHOICE!!!

As I've been reading and studying ways to motivate and grow participation and satisfaction in the workplace, I attempt many of the learnings on my unsuspecting children.

This particular Saturday everything changed.

I took a piece of paper and wrote down everything that I could think of that could be a chore suitable for 3 kids 10 years and younger. There must have been a dozen or so things on the list.

Then I gave them the ABILITY TO CHOOSE.

Instead of barking out their assignments and who would do what I simply said, 
"Kids, here is the list of everything that has to get done today. When everything on the list is complete the rest of the day is yours. You three decide who is going to do each task and I'll be around if you need anything but you're in charge."

That's when the miracle happened.

Faces lit up.
Energy entered the room.
Engagement occurred.
Excitement showed up.
And WOW did chores get done.

The three huddled at the table with pens deciding who was going to do what. They divided and then proceeded to conquer the list in half the time or less compared to usual with NO prodding from me whatsoever. In fact I asked them if they wanted to slow down or take a break from their hard work and I was met with a resounding NO!.

They LOVED THAT THEY GOT TO CHOOSE WHAT THEY GOT TO WORK ON.

I know that our organizations are vastly more complex organisms with many moving parts and people and priorities YET... Why is it that we so rarely offer our hard working people the ability to CHOOSE THE WORK THEY WILL DO?

I am wrong to think that it would be a RAGING SUCCESS in the workplace just as it was in my home?

What have we got to loose?

CONTROL.

That's what we give up.

CONTROL is at the very root of Enterprise 2.0 transformation; The giving up of CONTROL to be more specific.

To truly engage our people we MUST give up the desire and mechanisms of control that we have used in the past to get what we want done.

When we GIVE UP CONTROL and empower our people to make CHOICES we will be astounded at how much ownership and responsibility for our organizations success our people will take!

Be brave. Give up control. Give the blessing of CHOICE!

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