Human Resources, Leadership

Help Your Employees Move Mountains

Mike Bensi
September 22, 2016

Help Your Employees Move Mountains

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” - Confucius

As leaders, we all have mountains we are trying to move. These are the big goals we are trying to achieve for the organization. Perhaps it’s a sales or growth number. Or the goal to create a best place to work.

And we talk about these goals with our team. And we talk and talk.

But the more we talk, the more glazed over looks we get and the less the team feels connected to that goal. So we ask ourselves, “Why don’t they get it? Why don’t they see what I do? The team talks about transparency. What more do they want me to talk about?”

The trouble isn’t that they don’t get it. They see the same mountain you see. They see what the organization is capable of. The trouble is that your team doesn’t see the stone they need to move. They don’t see what they can do to help move the mountain.

To gain buy-in, employees need to know what their stone is. What are the things that need to be moved in order to achieve the overall goal? To help you connect the mountain to the stones for your employees, try this exercise:

Step 1: Draw the mountain

To help us in this task, picture your goal as a mountain. Draw it on a piece of paper as a triangle, and write your goal at the summit of the mountain. It can be a specific goal, such as become a $5 million company, or aspirational, such as create a kick-ass company culture.


Step 2: Identify the big rocks

Working with your direct team, ask them, "What are the big rocks that need to be moved?" These bigger rocks are what the team or department goals will be that help us move our overall goal. If you’re a more visionary thinker than a tactical thinker, use your team to help you identify those big rocks. Chances are the team sees those tactice, but they just need help in constructing the overall picture.


Step 3: Allow the team to identify the smaller stones

Allow your team to work together to identify the smaller stones that support the bigger rock. By repeating the above steps, the team is able to work together to see how they are individually involved in the process.

Taking the right perspective will help you communicate not only the mountain, but how you move it together. And it’s always better together.

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