Ep176: Engagement, Hope & Drowning Rats

25 minutes

This episode will be released on a pretty significant voting day in the U.S., which gets us thinking about how voting (and NOT voting) relates to business. How do you get people to tell you what they think, what they want, if they have lost faith that it will make a difference? And the biggest question of all – how can we use rats to tell this story?

Why is that important for business? 

Voting is an act of hope. But if you don’t think your vote matters, or you don’t think anyone’s vote matters (because the people at the top will do what they want anyway), you can get disillusioned in the process. The same can happen in a business. Whether it’s customers or employees or anyone else involved in your business, if people think their voice doesn’t matter, you can miss vital information. 

So how do you reach people who don’t vote, or speak up? 

The most honest place to look – does their vote actually count? Do you really want to hear from them, or do you just want to feel good that you heard from everybody? If you actually want to encourage people to speak up, you have to be prepared to hear. 

The opposite of love isn’t hate; it is disinterest. Do not imagine a silent voice is happy. Disengagement or lack of engagement is far worse than any amount of criticism. If someone is willing to give you feedback, even if it is negative, that means they are investing energy, and that they have hope things can be better. This doesn’t mean you always have to take the suggestions, but the people using their voice must believe they were at least heard, even if answer is no. 

Of course, there is a significant difference between feedback in general and the concept of voting, which has higher level of expectation of outcome. But the core questions are similar– how do you get people to engage (or vote)? How do you create and sustain hope and why does hope matter?

As we learn from Jodi’s horrific rat study, when there is no line of sight to what matters or has value, or when everything seems closed in or without options, it is hard to breathe hope into a situation. We can go a great distance if we actually see a purpose, but if you deprive people of reason – or keep them figuratively in the dark – they lose hope sooner. 

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