This is one of the steps I write about in my third book on employee engagement. You can get a digital copy at Contact Center Pipeline's bookstore.
There’s a quote I like about remembering history and being doomed to repeat it if you don’t. Here it is:
Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
As far as I can tell the originator was George Santayana.
As far as I can tell, the employee engagement industry is loaded with those who fail to remember the past and repeat it year after year. It’s one reason why employee engagement numbers remain unchanged for the past decade.
I tend to be either driven and determined or myopic and stubborn. The results determine the label. Keeping a journal has helped me identify productive patterns, where they deliver results and why. That provides the confidence to continue them when I’m faced with the usual obstacle or challenge. At the same time it helps me see where determined becomes stubborn, when and where and why I should stop. I’m not sure which is more productive, seeing what works and building on it or seeing what fails and ceasing it. As I write this book I tend to think it’s the latter. Sometimes the headaches disappear if we just stop beating our heads against the wall.
A journal offers a safe place to share your experiences and observations while you organize them into a lesson, one you can apply. By applying you keep moving forward, not slipping back into old habits.
A journal offers you the chance to formulate your ideas and questions before taking the next step and sharing them with someone you trust.
The daily habit of writing clarifies our thinking and strengthens our communication skills. Besides, if an art major, like myself, can master these tools … you can, too.
I’ll share with you the structure of my journals. You can use them to kickstart yours. Feel free to customize it for your needs.
For 10 to 15 minutes at the end of nearly every day, I review the current day and plan for tomorrow.
Things To Do - I list 3 to 5 things I want to accomplish the next day. Sure, there are many more. However, these are the big activities I need to accomplish in order for that day to be considered ... productive.
Lessons - I list and describe 3 lessons I learned that day. It’s interesting and somewhat embarrassing that I continue to learn the same lesson. However, at the same time I can see progress and can identify elements, repeating patterns and their triggers. That helps me avoid them.
Positives - Looking back at the day, what are the 3 to 5 bright moments. A conversation, a smile, an old friend, a goal reached, a good run with a personal best, the weather, how I finally learned one of those above lessons. Anything and everything. It’s a powerful and simple way to end the day on a positive note.
I encourage you to weave in employee recognition and plans to engage your employees within these categories. Add recognition and engagement steps to Things to Do. Discuss lessons learned from those steps in Lessons. Discuss their achievements and strengths and contributions in Positives.
I start each morning by listing at least 10 things - people, places, experiences, books, music, technology, weather, business, workouts, etc - for which I am grateful.
The approach is quick and fast with a word or a couple of sentences being enough. Some I list everyday, some are new ones. Some days I list more. However, 10 is always the minimum.
It reminds me to be thankful and that I have much for which to be thankful.
It focuses my mental lens on seeing good, not finding fault.
Writing daily helps organize our ideas so we can communicate them with more clarity and precision. And employee engagement, after all, is built around communication skills and disengagement is built around their lack. Choose one or the other.