I speak, many times a month, to leadership teams and business groups of different kinds.
But I also do this: for over two decades, I have spoken to residents at Independent Living Retirement Communities – a number of different communities each month. I speak on “Current Events,” present book reviews, and an occasional patriotic speech. And, at one community, I lead smaller “reading groups,” where we all read a speech, or an essay or article, and discuss it.
(My opening line for “Current Events” sessions is always “My name is Randy Mayeux, and I’m here to talk about whatever is in the news”).
These communities are filled with bright, active folks. Some of them may have less energy and physical capability than when they were younger, but their minds are alert and they long to stay engaged with the world at large.
And the best ones have terrific “Activities Directors.” (That’s what they were called when I first started speaking at these places; they all have newer, fancier titles these days). But their jobs are the same: make sure the residents have someone to know, and something to do, to help keep them engaged and active as much as, as long as, they can.
I think there is a simple formula for engagement:
- make sure they have someone to know
- make sure they have something to do.
- and, make sure some of that “something to do” is “together – in groups.”
And then, in planning activities, make sure you cover all the bases, like:
- “fun” activities
- food/eating activities
- entertainment activities
- physical activities
- mental/intellectual activities
You really should see the creativity in the array of activities planned in these communities. It is impressive!
It seems to me that this is all transferable for any successful company or organization. Keep folks engaged; make sure everyone has someone to know, and something to do, to contribute to the overall health of the organization. It helps if people: talk to each other; eat together; work together; think and learn together; have fun together — even sing together.
And the more people know each other, and work well together, the more engaged they will be.