I had the privilege to speak yesterday on the topic of Leadership. After each talk, a discussion ensued about how to apply these leadership concepts to real world situations. The discussion is always my favorite part of giving a speech because I get to learn how these concepts will be put to use.

One of the groups I spoke to was part of a non-profit that recently went through budget cuts and has had to reduce services to their membership. This has caused some negativity from the members to be directed at the staff.  While the more senior staff felt they were able to effectively deal with these situations the more junior and part-time staff are becoming more and more disengaged and their work is suffering.

As we talked about this I recalled a study that showed by simply reminding people of the greater purpose of their work it can lead to a dramatic improvement in results. In this particular study, they looked at staff in a call center raising money for a university scholarship fund. They found that staff who were made aware of the difference that these scholarships made in people’s lives were twice as effective at raising funds than those who were not given this information.

Think about that. They did something that cost the organization nothing (collected success stories) and read those stories to their staff and doubled their results! 

We finished our discussion talking about ways to reconnect the part-time and junior staff to the mission of the facility by providing them stories from members whose lives had been changed by their work. Everyone wants to know what they do is making a difference. When hard times hit is when you need everyone at your organization to be at their best. This is when it is more important than ever to remind people of the importance of the work they are doing. Stay focused on where you are making a difference instead of all the “bad news” and you can make it through the tough times.

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