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Mar 17, 201610:00 AMOpen Mic

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Conversation: An operating system to talk about

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You may not realize it but your organization is home to an incredibly powerful operating system (OS).

Think outside the realm of technology. What has the potential to engage and energize your employees, bring teams closer together, and create a high-performing workforce?

It’s conversation.

Conversation is the common denominator behind “apps” like customer service, feedback, coaching, strategy, and innovation. Conversation — that is, quality, meaningful conversation between leaders and employees — powers up all the things that make a business successful.

Not sure you agree that conversation is your organization’s most mighty OS? Consider what would happen without conversation. All those apps would crash and your business would fail.

Talking heads

Let’s go a bit more “micro” and look at the human brain.

Conversation is, essentially, our brain’s OS. This is because every single message transmitted from one neuron to another enables us to see, hear, move, and think. If all those 100 billion neurons were to stop talking to one another, our bodies and ability to process information would cease to function.

Meanwhile, science shows us that our own brains are significantly strengthened and enhanced by social conversations “between brains.” This is our native wiring, and consequently the perfect OS that we need to connect, understand, and harmonize with others.

So, as neuronal conversations are the way the brain gets things done, employee conversations are the way organizations get things done.

With this in mind, why do organizations not integrate conversation into their own employee engagement initiatives?

Ignoring conversation = missed opportunities

Using engagement surveys as an example, consider how organizations often deal with results.

Rather than pause to consider the “why” behind results, leaders will rush to create strategies — one-size-fits-all, broad-brush strategies built on nothing but numbers.

But employees do not respond well to global solutions. They want to know that they have been listened to. Leaders who draft plans without taking time to consider context or “backstory” practically guarantee employee non-compliance to any engagement initiative.

Organizations that ignore the importance of conversation are missing out on a range of opportunities to create a higher-performing workforce.

Here’s why: science shows that when you have meaningful, face-to-face conversations that demonstrate value, respect, and care, this boosts the brain’s processing power and forms a feel-good energy cocktail of connection, calm, concentration, creativity, and curiosity. Essentially, conversation can deepen the leader-employee relationship, energize employees, and power those apps that make a business so successful.

(Continued)

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