“Please don’t focus on making team members happy,” Pablo continued. “Being happy may be a byproduct, but what we want is engagement. What does it take to keep team members engaged, in the work that we do?”
“As managers, we do things instinctively to get the work done, without thinking about the longer term impact of engagement,” I replied. “Getting the work done is short term, to meet the weekly metrics. We need to think about getting the work done, getting the work done well, for the next five years. We do that best with a team we can keep together, working in sync with each other.”
“And, even if the team meets their metrics, but isn’t working in sync, where are you, as a manager?” Pablo asked.
“So, it is not enough for one team member to be engaged, but to have a team working in sync?” I answered with another question.
“That is why, in building an organization,” Pablo continued my thought, “it is not enough to have the right people in the right seats, we have to think about how the seats have to work together.”
“That sounds nice for an orchestra, but what about here, where we have to get some work done?”
Pablo smiled. “In every working relationship that we design, we have to think critically. In this working relationship, what are the accountabilities we expect? And, in this working relationship, who has the authority? Authority to make decisions and solve problems the way we would have them solved? It is the design of the structure that creates team member engagement. It doesn’t happen by itself. We have to design the structure with intention.”