If your goal is to engage others and do work of substance and consequence, utilize the “Essential A’s”:
Aspirations – help others dream and establish the highest possible aspirations for your institution or program. It’s easy to get distracted and discouraged in the weeds of work (which is why some people choose to live there, by the way). But when we focus our energy, resources, and efforts on achieving compelling and meaningful aspirations, we re-energize ourselves, our colleagues, and our work. Remind others regularly to lift their gaze away from tedious tasks onto the far horizon of promise.
Angels – appeal to people’s better angels by focusing their attention away from self-interest and comfort and onto the broader cause you are called to serve. Yes, it is easier to “do things like we’ve always done them.” And yes, it is most comfortable to keep the work routine and flow unchanged. But, are we fully living into our mission and doing everything we can to reach our aspirations by keeping the status quo? Help others develop an ego for your institution that is bigger than their ego for self.
Agreement – work to identify what is agreed upon and move forward on those points. It is easy to get derailed by focusing on the potential hurdles, weaknesses, threats, or disagreements that may (or may not) exist. Remind others that you have much upon which you agree and work toward those aims. Soon enough, the petty disagreements and trite reasoning for “why this can’t work,” will recede into the woodwork.
Doing meaningful work that truly makes a difference is simple, yet not easy. By implementing the “Essential A’s” consistently, you surely will enhance the significance of your journey. You will find, though, that others may not always show an interest in going with you. Go anyway.