Why 31? Well, its a number. Numbers can be helpful. In this case, it gives us something to aim for. If we surpass the target we’ll have the luxury of either expanding the number or increasing the value of each contributor amongst a limited range.
I’m also yet to encounter a month with more days. And an extremely effective way to change habits is to align them to cultural milestones. You may find it useful to align some of these activities with your weekly rhythm, i.e. every Monday ‘I will take someone to a forum they don’t usually get to go to (of course you would have briefed them last week including their role)….every Wednesday ‘I will call 2 people at least 3 levels removed from me’, and every Friday ‘I will send a thank-you note to 2 people’..as you think bigger, you may find such rituals fit better with monthly (1st, 15th or new moon), quarterly (solstice or equinox) or annual cycles (birthdays, anniversaries, cultural celebrations).
However you approach embedding some of these acts into your biorhythm, our encouragement to you is – do – we know once you start and particularly if you ask for feedback (as you engage in these activities), you will make a difference for the people around you, and likely for yourself.
- Periodically call, or visit in-person, someone 2, 3 or more levels below you (structurally) and spend 5-10 minutes getting to know something about who they are, what’s on their mind, and perhaps ‘1-thing’ they would change at work if they could.
- Take someone to a forum they wouldn’t ordinarily have opportunity to attend – we often underestimate the value people gain from hearing first-hand what is topical in certain forums and how senior members interact – when taking someone along make sure to give them an active role, introduce who they are and their contribution to the organisation, ask them to present something that you believe will be of value to the audience. It could be an idea for improvement or simply a day-in-the-life of their team.
- Schedule walking meetings. If you don’t need to be physically looking at materials or screens then why not change the environment, it will change your physiology too – which might just lead to better outcomes, and, if it doesn’t, you’ve at least made a positive contribution to your health and theirs.
- Send a thank-you note (email, voice message or other) to someone to let them know you recognise and value their contribution, no matter how small. It could be a small gesture like a smile or going above the call of duty and when doing this, ensure you consider their style and preference for interacting, i.e. someone who has a reserved or understated manner may not want a lot of public attention on them, they’re probably happy to get a genuine note of thanks straight to their inbox or phone.
- Host a TED-Talk lunch with your team (it could be in person or video conference). Invite members to arrive with lunch, watch a pre-selected TED Talk, then open a conversation about the talk with questions like what surprised you? what didn’t you agree with and why? what are you curious to learn more about? what can we learn from this? how could this idea influence our work? Pro-tip: delay the desire to relate the conversation to your work and work environment as long as possible. Keeping work removed will allow more free-flowing conversation and limit the judgement of anyone’s contribution.
That’s a start, more coming – check back soon or fill in the form below for updates on this page and related material.