In a 1987 speech, Ronald Reagan famously stood before the Berlin Wall, the most powerful symbol of the Cold War, and demanded: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” This simple line turned out to be the defining moment in the ultimate unraveling of the Soviet Bloc.
You, too, can create a defining moment in your organization by calling out: “Tear down these silos!”
OK, perhaps not quite as dramatic as that, but dismantling silos is definitely an important step in ensuring the success of your movement.
So, how do you effectively do so?
Start by channeling Leonardo da Vinci, master of all polymaths and the ultimate Renaissance Man. Da Vinci rightly understood that great solutions, ideas and inventions happen by combining multiple disciplines.
Translation in the world of workplace wellness: Reach across department divides and bring together diverse minds and skill sets.
Here’s the thing: a da Vinci approach will lead to a greater infusion of well-being across the organization. It promises more synergy and integration. The more you can coordinate your efforts with others from different disciplines, the more you can foster greater impact within your organization - just the way da Vinci would have done it.
Here are three ways you can do exactly that:
1) Form unlikely partnerships – internally.
What are all of the departments in your organization? Now, wouldn't it be cool if you had representation from each of them? This is what it means to have not just a wellness team, but a da Vinci team!
Having representation from each department is essential, not only in creating multidisciplinary solutions but also in generating buy-in across the organization. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve witnessed other “jealous” departments sabotage well-being efforts, simply because they didn’t play a part.
The questions then become: How can you get each of these departments on board? How can you ensure that you have representation from each in your movement? You’ll need to construct a tailored pitch for each that will move them to join your awesome team. What’s their business case for well-being? What does well-being have to do with the work that they do? And, how are you going to present that to them? These are all questions you’ll need to consider.
Let’s walk through one example of a team that you’ll definitely want to be part of your efforts: the organizational development team.
Here are some ways that I have successfully gotten different teams on board when delivering our “Managers on the Move” (MOTM) program:
2). Form partnerships – externally.
Now, put on your community hat. Who are people and organizations outside of your company who can help you to build your movement? One of my favorites is the American Heart Association. They offer a range of free resources – from on-site lunch n’ learns to a healthy eating toolkit to a healthy heart questionnaire.
There are really four big categories that I’ve identified (and maybe you can identify more!).
3). Finally, activate your managers.
Yes, you’ll want to garner support from senior leaders. They are the key trendsetters in the organization. They set the tone and allocate resources. But, managers are the key permission-givers. Every team member is looking to their manager to lead the way.
Inside, employees are asking themselves questions like:
Is it OK for me to prioritize my well-being around my manager?
Will my manager think less of me if I ask for flexibility in my schedule so that I can make sure that my kid isn’t falling behind in their schoolwork?
Is my manager expecting me to be ‘on’ at night, ready to respond to late-night emails?
What will my manager think if I share that I’ve been struggling to keep up?
These little micro-decisions add up for employees. The more they don’t have to guess, the better. The more they know that their manager has their back, the better. According to Gallup, managers likely account for up to 70% of the variance of their team members’ engagement with both their work and with their well-being.
Here are the three essentials to activating your managers to become
Managers on the Move, aka, “Multipliers of Well-Being”
Tearing down workplace silos potentially can bring about some resistance, but the end result is worth the challenges to get there! I recently chatted with Crockett Dale, about the good, the bad, and the ugly of a well-being initiative we co-launched. Listen below and learn from our experiences as we share all (well, maybe not all, but as much as we could in 30-minutes)!