In Bidibidi, Uganda, in the Southern Sudan, stands a pole structure called “The Ministry of Useless Affairs”.
Meetings are held here where people share ideas on how to solve the problems plaguing their refugee camp: unemployment, broken water taps, food rationing, to name just a few. The group hopes that someday they will have done enough to change their name to “The Ministry of Useful Affairs”. (A City Rises, National Geographic, April 2019)
The name of the group captured my attention; it is both humble and hopeful. It conveys respect and caring. The beauty of the Ministry of Useless Affairs is that the people who are experiencing the problems are also trying to solve them.
How does this translate to business? Enabling employees to have some measure of control over their workplace creates an engaged, empowered and positive environment. It can also lead to frustration if expectations and scope of responsibility aren’t clear.
Here’s how to start.
Invite employees to identify issues that they want to address, decide upon one concern and encourage people to participate in finding solutions.
Decide on what to call the group (stay away from the word “committee”). Click HERE for some fun team names.
The team name should help to build a cohesive group, helping to motivate them in reaching their goal. You may choose to encourage participation with rewards and incentives.
The goal of your team should be action; you want to make things happen so don’t get caught up in procedural details. Be open to ideas and work together.
Meet regularly – once or twice a month and insure that “light” assignments are given out according to individual interests. When people take action on issues they are interested in, they will look for ways to improve the business for the benefit of everyone.
Have fun with it and share the results. Once the objective has been met, move on to the next issue you’d like to solve and start the process over again.
You’ll be surprised how quickly people will step up!
The road is easier together,