Feed the Need

sculpture 2209152 640They linger outside a doorway for a moment, hoping to overhear.... Ears perk up in the hallways or break rooms. Eyes rove over the surfaces of desks, hoping for a glimpse of something.... 

At every level of an organization, there is a hunger to know more about the next level. What is happening? What is about to happen? Am I being blamed for what just happened? 

 

Since the dawn of corporate life, there has been this hunger, this need for information. The most successful organizations are those in which Trust, as one of the 7 Facets of Team Success, creates the transparency to feed that need.

The presence of their supervisors seems to stimulate team members' need to "gather intel." An environment full of signals that "sumthin's up" elevates that hunger for information, too. As one facet of successful teams, Trust as two key features: the awareness and fulfillment of needs. When hunger is the need, the correct response is to provide food. 

With children, feeding only those foods for which they express hunger is a recipe for an unhealthy body. Similarly, the adult need for information--ultimately a need for inclusion--can be fed by the rumor and gossip mill. In any organization, there are those who can take the tidbits gleaned by lingering, perking ears, and letting eyes rove, and churn them into elaborate theories. As theories are filtered successively through the mouths of many, they are retold more as facts than theory. Stories like these can derail well-laid plans, and often leave in their wake ripple effects large enough to affect bottom lines.

A better alternative is that leaders in the organization feed this need for "upline" connection, the need for inclusion. Transparency, especially when "sumthin's up," creates the sense of belonging and security that satiates the hunger for information. I'm not suggesting campaigns of false information or propaganda, but genuine transparency. Those who hunger really can tell the difference.

Yet, still, transparency does not mean feeding the basest aspect of this hunger for inclusion in "the loop." Kids would eat candy all day, if they could, and we adults--most of us--would consume sensational and fear-based stories all day, if we could. Why do you think serial TV and streaming dramas are so successful?

For every juicy tidbit behind a gossipy story, there was a hunger that could have been satisfied with management's genuine interest in conversations about future plans for improvement...of process, product, or culture. Taking a step outward to the meta level, leaning in to an authentic discussion about Trust, itself, as a Facet of Team Success is a banquet for this same hunger. 

Human needs are organizational needs; the personal is also universal. How might your workplace change if each team member and manager held awareness of their valid workplace needs, and an understanding of how to get those needs satisfied in a framework that also satisfies the needs of the organization? 

The need for inclusion and belonging is just one need we try to get met in our workplaces. Do you know the others?

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I am grateful and proud to announce that I've been given a spot on the TEDx Wyandotte stage in Kansas City, KS on March 8, 2018. If you're in the metro area, I hope you will come hear my talk, "Never Lost Forever" on this theme of Dream Big: The Lost Art of Dreaming. Tickets are available on Event Brite at http://bit.ly/TEDxWYtix. #dreambig #tedxwyco

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Dr. L. Carol Scott.

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