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Finding Wisdom on the Front Lines


Many years ago, I engaged a team of people in an Outward Bound experiential learning exercise.

The task was a simple one but contained a complex solution:

Three sets of stacking rings (yes, exactly like the ones we give our children) were placed around three sides of the building. Each team was tasked with taking the rings (only one peg had rings) and transferring them to the third side of the building by first placing them on the second ring. However, the challenging twist was that they could not at any time have a larger ring sitting on top of a smaller ring!

The solution, as pointed out by one of my COO’s, was a fairly complex sequence of moves. The great thing about this story was that the person who solved the problem in our team was our receptionist.

Unfortunately in most organizations I have been in, the general perception is that reception is not the place where you would find this wisdom.

The key learning from this example is that what people are capable of can, and often will, surprise you if you let them participate.

That’s why when I work with my clients I always encourage them to share the results of their engagement survey with all employees and engage everyone in brainstorming solutions to the issues that are raised. 

Finding Wisdom on the Front LinesFront line employees will offer you solutions you would never have thought of. Remember, these are the people who are actually carrying out the plans that come from the top, dealing with your customers on a day-to-day basis, and living entrenched in the workplace culture you’ve created (for better or for worse).

I highly encourage you to read some of my previous posts, which shed great light on this topic:

What great insights are you missing because you assume that this type of wisdom flows from the top down and from those with the most education or experience?

>> Workplace Engagement Insights can help you receive and implement solutions from all levels of your organization. It starts with an employee engagement survey. Contact us today.

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Written by Dwight Lacey

Dwight Lacey

Dwight is the President at Workplace Engagement Insights. He leads Workplace Engagement Insights with a clear understanding of the latest employee engagement research, survey best practices, and leadership styles that create successful businesses.

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