Background: Someone on your team generates an idea to do lightening talks over lunch once a month. They highlight the value of getting to know others, sharing knowledge, and experimenting with a fun different format. You immediately think of other potential benefits…public speaking opportunities, learning through teaching, etc. The cost of lunch is completely worth the benefits – green light.
Initially: A few passionate people jump at the opportunity. Attendance is high. Laughter is plentiful. Value is being experienced.
The catch: you are hearing about it second hand because you just don’t have time to attend.
Over time: Attendance is sporadic. The value is still potential but no longer outweighing the time/cost impact. Again, you are hearing about this second hand and left wondering what happened.
Oversimplified answer: You didn’t prioritize, so they won’t. Yes, there are many other reasons that can impact this scenario and I’m not discounting them. What I’m highlighting is a leader’s behavior and what they prioritize sends a loud and clear message to their teams. If you can’t find time for this lunch, maybe it’s not very valuable and they should be doing something else too. Think about it…stating this is valuable for you but not me: no I don’t need to connect with you, no I don’t need to learn from you, no I don’t need to be engaged in an experiment…really?
But I really can’t do it all: Yep, you can’t. So find a sponsor that can. Do you have a leadership team? I imagine one of them could sponsor (support) this on behalf of the team. I imagine if you have a team of 8 – you could figure out how to make sure at least two are present each time. If not, adjust the frequency. Or maybe the timing for this initiative is just not right: then put it on hold versus let it die a slow death.
It’s really this simple: Be present and available!
How do you find ways to ensure leadership is engaged and available?