The Best Engagement Plans Start Close to Home


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

If you have been involved in a Total Resource Campaign with YGM, then you know that we talk a lot about engagement. 

Everyone in the chamber world (the business world in general) knows that we all work with and engage with a wide arrange of people and constituent groups. And while the benefits of this are great, the challenges can also sometimes be great.  

I think about the following quote a lot when I think about the engagement with those constituent groups. 

“It all came down to employee engagement. It all came down to recognition. It all came down to leadership, which led to every sailor feeling ownership and accountability for the results. You can ask a team to accomplish a mission but you can’t order excellence.” –Mike Abrashoff, Commander USS Benfold (retired) 

Real engagement is necessary to be successful whether we are in a chamber or in a small business or in a megacorp. And in all of those places, that real engagement begins at home, with our own employees, our own team members. 

At YGM, we like to think of ourselves as being on the same team because a team works together. We succeed together, and we pick one another up when we fail together. Much like Commander Abrashoff suggested, all of the sailors have a sense of ownership in the process and thus, give their very best.  

We recently hired Michele Trice as YGM’s first Director of Engagement. She will be working directly with clients to assist them in engaging their volunteers, members, and communities in new and innovative ways.  

I have known Michele personally and professionally for more than 20 years. Some of you may know her from YGM as she has worked with us some for years. She has a background in communications, both in corporate and non-profit environments. 

As each of us think about our own environments, whether chamber or business, this quote speaks to what we need to focus on first.  

“Engaged employees are in the game for the sake of the game; they believe in the cause of the organization.” – Paul Marciano, PhD 

Michele has believed in YGM for years, and we are all going to benefit from her talents. Take a moment today to spend some time thinking about those in your organization who are really engaged. Do they believe in the mission of your cause? Are they fully engaged? Do you recognize them for that engagement?  

As a leader, do you encourage them to have a sense of ownership in your organization? Are you a team? 

If not, how do you change that? It’s an old adage, but it’s true – teamwork makes the dream work.  

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