Monday, April 7, 2008

RA RA for Team Ruach!

When it comes to getting your staff, volunteers, donors, members, etc. excited and engaged about their work for and connection to your organization, you're going to need to create a little ruach: "RA! RA!"

Now before you pull out your high-school pom-poms, try this less embarrassing and more effective approach to rallying the troops:

R - Recognition: Tell your staff members and volunteers specifically what they have done to make your life easier and/or how they have contributed to the organization's mission. Make sure that you meet each person's preferences for how they like to be recognized (publicly vs. privately, in-person vs. over the phone, in writing, with a small token, etc.)

A - Appreciation: The options are endless and you can find one that fits your budget and timing: take someone to lunch, give a Starbucks gift card, stop and ask them about a hobby or personal interest, offer some schedule flexibility, allot some professional development budget for them, or just take the time to tell them. Oh, and remember handwritten thank you notes? They never go out of style!

R - Respect: Trade in the Golden Rule (treat others as you would want to be treated) for the Platinum Rule (treat others as THEY would would want to be treated). So, while you are finding out how each of your staff and volunteers defines respect, here's one universally appreciated gift: Listening. Really listening. That means listening on two levels -- for both content (what is being said, and what isn't being said) and emotion (how the message is being communicated). To do this effectively, you'll need to put away the Blackberry, turn off the lap top, and get rid of any other distractions. Attentive listening is hard -- and desperately needed. But it's free of charge and looks good on everyone. Try it.

A - Accountability: When the U.S. Army was looking for a workshop on Accountability, they found my online self-assessment, downloaded it, and called us up for training. I invite you to take this assessment and see where your staff and volunteers may be looking to you for greater leadership:

When it comes to retaining your organizations most important resources -- your human resources -- make sure you take the time and make the effort to give them what they need to keep contributing.



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