Executive engagement has been called the “DNA” of businesses and organizations. While there’s a lot of research and focus on employee engagement, executive engagement is just as important. Why? Organizations lacking leadership development and engagement can be plagued with low productivity and community drive. 

Executive engagement is vital for mentoring and developing good leaders who, in turn, cultivate energy and motivate progress throughout the organization. How do you do this? The executive engagement meeting is a tried a true tactic for spurring improvement and growth. These meetings are standard practice for most organizations. But, there are a few things you can do to make the most of them (outside planning a great one.) 

Here are some tips to ensure positive executive engagement.

Success starts at the roots 

P – There is a Japanese word “nemawashi.” Nemawashi has no direct English translation but is derived from a special Japanese gardening technique involving transplanting trees. Nemawashi is a unique process of individually and carefully uncovering the roots of trees. The process sheds light on how important it is to conduct some business prior to executive engagement meetings i.e. tending the roots. 

In fact, Toyota has attributed some of its success to “nemawashi.” The 13th principle from “ The Toyota Way” reads: “Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly.” 

In the business world, we can interpret this as trying to understand each individual (or root). Applying this individual attention to each executive prior to the meeting can foster an exchange of input, ideas, and trust.

Having one-on-one conversations with partners before the meeting may also help the meeting “owner” test reactions to new proposals. Gauging reactions of co-workers often proves beneficial. In Japan, this practice is taken very seriously and includes several “behind the scenes” conversations. Gathering this input before a proposal or big change ensures that concerns are raised and addressed. This general consensus can also provide solutions and new innovative thinking.

A great advantage of “nemawashi” is that everyone is on board with the new “proposal” from the very start of your meeting. It saves time and prevents conflict. Attentiveness to each “root” also fosters long-lasting growth and profit. 

Working from within the roots of your executives and applying the “nemawashi” technique before your next executive meeting just may prove the saying, “money doesn’t grow on trees,” false.

A Resurrection 

Executive engagement can look different at all levels. Although there is no single ideology to follow within your executive engagement meetings, an adaptive culture must be omnipresent. Exiting the executive engagement meeting should sometimes feel like a “resurrection” of new energy. Here are a few ways to foster this resurrection. 

  1. Embrace new ideas to keep executive creativity flowing 
  2. Teach courses on presenting key business issues
  3. Require leaders to have development plans in place
  4. Offer talent development and courses on mentoring other leaders
  5. Hold all executives accountable.
  6. Host educational sessions related to areas of expertise for each executive
  7. Attend senior-level development courses
  8. Embrace talent development
  9. Solicit feedback from executives on leadership courses taken so improvements can be made.

Lastly, it is important to remember that this audience is focused on outcomes. Time and money are valuable in the executive’s eyes. An executive engagement meeting should bring forth new life to the company. Big decisions require big thinking and sometimes a re-birth is required.  Executives aren’t looking to repeat the same old. They want to become trailblazers in their industry and continuously grow!

Follow these tips and your executive engagement meetings could become a catalyst for major profit.

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