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Jack Mitchell: Include Everyone to Generate Team Spirit




How often do you hear the cry among employees: “No one ever talks to me around here?” You know what they’re really saying — that the company doesn’t care about their opinions. 
Everyone knows how it feels when you have good ideas that will make a project just sing, but the boss says or the rules say that you can’t become involved. Ultimately, you find that your best people leave to find a company where they can be included. 
Once you’re nice to your team and you trust them and instill them with pride, you’ve made a big difference in what sort of culture you have created. Yet you’re not all the way there. You have to also include everyone. 
I’m talking about a deeply rooted sensibility that all employees are an intrinsic and irreplaceable part of the business, that their views and their actions not only count but are crucial and therefore regularly solicited. In short, everyone’s in the loop. It’s a matter of cleansing the culture of the “we versus they” mentality that persists between the rank-and-file and management in so many companies. The “we” come up with the ideas and the “they” carry them out, like it or not. 
“Include” is itself a process. And the way we implement it is by what I call the Five I’s: Invite, Input, Include, Involve, Invest. 
Briefly put, the Five I’s mean that you Invite people to participate, you then solicit their Input, you Include them in decision-making, you Involve them in the implementation, and when all of that happens you will have made them feel Invested in the business.  
The purpose of the Five I’s is to achieve “buy-in,” to create a win-win situation and generate a positive and exciting consensus with those who are connected with the meeting, project, purpose, or cause. That way, at the end of the process people are united as a team. 
The Five I’s are not theoretical baloney. Many of the very best ideas really do come from our own people — all of our people. And they’re the ones who have to execute the ideas. When they’re included, they become excited and enthusiastic, and then they execute with conviction and consistency. They thirst for success, because they feel invested in that success. Like the other principles, it’s common sense. 
If a company continuously includes its people in almost everything they want to be included in, then they feel terrific. I think of it as making many into one. 
Because you can’t do it alone! 
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