In the same way that individuals can find inspiration, joy, energy, ideas and meaning through conversation, so too can businesses and organizations. Legendary business innovators, such as James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood and Matthew Boulton, members of the Lunar Society during England’s Industrial Revolution, illustrate this point. Businesses now are coming to realize that their people can drive bottom line results and competitive advantage. Gallup asserts that employee engagement is a leading indicator of the financial performance of a business. Alex Edmans at the Wharton School of Business suggests here that, “Employee satisfaction is positively correlated with shareholder returns.” Conversation among employees has a central role to play in this dynamic of engagement.
Daniel Pink in his book, Drive, identifies autonomy, mastery and purpose as the three essential ingredients for employees to deliver massive value to their organizations. These factors can be facilitated by the attributes inherent in conversation, including those attributes aligned to the criteria for good ideas that Steven Johnson articulates in his book, Where Good Ideas Come From, such as serendipity, slow(er) consideration, self-driven discussion and the astonishing inspirational power of the “adjacent possible” or a collision of hunches.
Then there is the enabling of curiosity, or letting people inquire of each other in the simple act of sharing. Moreover, we are a social species, actively seeking interaction at an emotional level. Businesses that create space for people to talk, engage, be curious and to share are creating an environment where unpredictable rapport and innovation can flourish.
At its simplest, conversation in the business organization can provide team building, enhancement of workplace communication and relationships, mutual understanding and relief of stress and anxiety. At its best, conversation opens the remarkable possibility of business innovations, intellectual leaps, an environment of perpetual creativity, employee fulfillment, alignment of company brand attributes with individual awareness and overall business vim and vigor.
Are you developing this potential in your business? Ask me how, today.