The world's top companies are starting to manage employee energy like a strategic asset. They know that ever-increasingly pace of change requires more and more human energy. Any entrepreneur will tell you that it take a tonne of energy to grow a business. The key is to manage it; sometimes you have to exert energy, other times you need to conserve it to go the distance, and after a sprint you need to replenish it.
A group of senior executives from companies like Facebook, Alibaba, IBM and Johnson & Johnson got together to come up with strategies to better manage collective human energy in their companies. Here are their top five hacks to maximise human energy:
1. Focus on what matters
Everybody at Facebook takes time out to write their own personal vision which includes everything from their business targets to personal goals like run a marathon. By sharing them openly, Facebook employees know what's important to their colleagues and save a tonne of time and energy not having to figure out what's important to their colleagues.
2. Create a 'not to do' list
At IBM, the marketing team sits down once a quarter and make a list of things they won't be doing. This is a great way to keep everybody focused on their own priorities and stopping them from getting distracted by other people's. Keep your 'not to do' list to hand to remind your team and share with stakeholders.
3. Walk and talk
Have a standing meeting or, better still, a walking meeting. At Google's new Asia Pacific headquarters, there is a meeting route so Googlers can walk and talk to recharge their energy. Or they can increase their pace at the employee gym, aptly named The Energy Lab.
4. Test, learn, reflect (and do it all over again)
If you have short cycles to bring your products to consumers, then you have lots of opportunities to test, fail and learn fast. Consciously reflecting on what you have learnt at the end of each cycle will help to energize your team and encourage innovation.
5. Keep meetings small
Everybody hates sitting through that meeting that they don't really need to be at. At Prudential Insurance, they try to keep meetings to six or less people to make them as effective as possible. So the seventh person in the room has to justify why they are there.
Use these strategies in your business to keep your teams energized.