Dump the Pebble from Your Shoe

Many years ago, when I was first starting to do culture-shifting work, I learned a technique for showing employees that they were being heard. We put out an organization-wide request for employees to identify little irritations at work. We thought that if we could remove the little irritations, we’d be showing support and making room for more innovation.

After a slow start, irritations started pouring in. Most often, they were a result of cumbersome or inefficient processes. Other times they were irritations with the environment or equipment. When people started to see that we were committed to removing these metaphorical pebbles from their shoes, they felt heard and seen.  We started publishing a list of everyone’s irritations that had been fixed or removed. You could see the culture-shifting actually taking place. Each week we’d publish a list that said, You Spoke, We Listened. We gave credit to the people who had spoken up, and we thanked them for making the organization better.

Oftentimes, employees don’t bother speaking up about the little irritations. But, these irritations nag at them creating unnecessary, preventable frustrations. When you solicit them, you create a safe space for employees to speak up. For the organization’s leaders, you get the opportunity to act about things that slip under the radar.

Catching Issues While They’re Still Small

In her latest blog post, Martie Moore talks about the importance of removing the pebbles while they are still small but reminds us that the smallest of rocks still cause pain and harm.

Chances are good that you won’t just happen upon these little irritations. You need to go out and find them. When you shake the pebbles from employees’ shoes, you help them hit their stride. Take the first step and ask.

This is just one strategy for building trust and making employees feel heard. Take your leadership to the next level with our eight transformational skill builders in our Be the Leader Nobody Wants to Leave. Register now for our next cohort.

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