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SURPRISING CONNECTION #1: The Band “Switchfoot” …and Employee Engagement

Last week I facilitated a work session with a team of employees charged with redesigning and restructuring their Therapy Services department — a growing department that now spans four different locations. A lot of thoughtful planning went into this event. The team was carefully selected to represent their colleagues. As this first working session unfolded, senior leadership endorsed the process, provided some parameters for the work, and then did the most important thing of all — they left the room!

The charge to the group came in the form of a song by Switchfoot and streamed from the portable speaker in the room as the group got busy.

Welcome to the planet. Welcome to existence.

Everyone’s here. Everyone’s here. Everybody waits for you now.

What happens next?

I dare you to move … between who you are and who you could be …

between how it is and how it should be.

The employees were “dared to move” toward creating a structure that would better serve their ideal future state. But more importantly, leadership “dared to move” out of the way and put their staff at the center of the creation. The hospital administrator responsible for the team later admitted it was a long day, reminiscent of new dads who once paced hospital hallways awaiting the arrival of their new baby.

By the afternoon, the group was working in three different subgroups on potential structures. Each then presented their concepts to the full group. And that’s where something quite magical and surprising happened … they realized they had not given birth to triplets, but to one beautiful “baby” that everyone was in love with!

Their visions were aligned and in record time a high level structure was created. The skepticism, cynicism and uncertainty in the room early that morning was replaced with an energetic charge that was palpable!

I had the honor of witnessing this rare and miraculous result. The COO had only 3 words: “I love it!” And to quote the senior administrator/ “expectant father,” “It’s better than anything we could have come up with.” And that’s the point — as a leader, sometimes our job is to simply move out of the way.

I dare you!

When have you seen leaders dare to move out of the way? When could they? Please share.



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