Inspire – Engager Dynamic #5

You may have heard a version of the story I call the “Quarry Story.” The way I heard it was, back in the day when stones were cut by hand in the building process, a man walked through a quarry and asked three of the stone cutters the same question, “What are you doing?” The first, with a look that questioned the man’s eyesight, said, “I’m cutting rocks, what does it look like?” The second, replied, “I’m making a living for my family.” When asked the same question, the third stone cutter looked up with an enthusiastic smile and said, “I’m building a cathedral!”
Which of these stone cutters would you say was engaged in their work? The third? I would. You might ask, “So what?” “What difference does it make if he’s engaged?” Well, let’s speculate beyond the scope of the story and ask, whose stones, do you think, were of higher quality?  My gut tells me it would be the third guy’s. And who do you think cut the most stones?  Again, probably the third guy. What is it about the third stone cutter that makes us believe he would cut better stones and more of them? In a word, Inspiration.

Word Nerd Alert

We hear a lot about Motivation. I’m talking about something more than that. Check out the definitions of each . . . (though they appear on the list of synonyms for each other, they are not the same)
mo·ti·vate
ˈmōdəˌvāt/
verb
  1. provide (someone) with a motive (reason) for doing something.
    “she was primarily motivated by the desire for profit”
    • stimulate (someone’s) interest in or enthusiasm for doing something.
      “I’m going to motivate kids to study civics”
in-spire
inˈspī(ə)r/
verb
  1. fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.“his passion for romantic literature inspired him to begin writing”
  2. create (a feeling, especially a positive one) in a person.“their past record does not inspire confidence”
  3. animate someone with (such a feeling).“he inspired his students with a vision of freedom”
  4. give rise to.“the movie was successful enough to inspire a sequel”
To Motivate is to give someone a reason. Most of the time we’re talking about an external reason like a reward (money, recognition) or a punishment (disciplinary action, being fired). To Inspire is to “fill someone with the urge . . .” It speaks of internal drive. If you check out the previous link you’ll see that “Transcendent Purpose” is one of three main internal drivers. Linking our work to a purpose bigger and more important than ourselves is what inspires people. In the Quarry Story the stone cutter who said he was, “Building a Cathedral” saw his job as a critical part of something bigger and more important than himself. He was Inspired. Because he was inspired, he was engaged. Because he was engaged, he was far more likely to be more productive and produce a higher quality product.

What’s Your Inspiration?

You might be thinking, “Our jobs are not that inspiring.” Don’t be so sure. Maybe you work on the production or shipping line in a commercial bakery. You’re not just packing hot dog buns, you’re feeding southern Texas (or whatever part of the country or world your product serves). Maybe you work as a housekeeper in a medical facility. You’re not just cleaning patient toilets. You’re saving lives. Or, maybe you work for a company with a social mission statement and whatever you do you’re providing jobs for people with disabilities (or whatever the mission is).
The point is that a leader who is an Engager is able to Inspire their people. They connect the daily tasks to the overall purpose of the organization and the purpose of the organization to something bigger. The Engager starts from the very first day of employment. From “Welcome Aboard” through training and every day after, Inspiration is the engine that drives the organization.
What’s your inspiration?

Cultivate – Engager Dynamic #4

Death Valley, CA is normally the hottest, driest, lowest point in North America where steady drought and record summer heat make it a land of extremes. The ground usually looks like the surface of the moon. It’s called “Death Valley” but it isn’t really dead. It’s dormant. Below the hard, cracked surface lies potential. The seeds of beauty wait patiently for conditions to be right. During those rare years when the right amount of rain falls with the right frequency in the right seasons, when the warmth of the sun allows for root systems to sprout and when harsh drying winds do not blow through to kill off the sprouts, vast fields of wildflowers bloom in breathtaking display. The life is there. The Beauty is there, waiting.

People Are The Same

No matter how hard or soft the surface may appear, there is untold potential beneath that surface in any person. Like the Death Valley wildflowers, that potential usually sits dormant, waiting for conditions to be just right for it to blossom. Unfortunately, in many organizations, the right conditions for that growth are more rare than they are in Death Valley. The leaders we call Engagers know how to create those conditions through the Dynamic we call “Cultivate.”

To “Cultivate” is to prepare land for crops and to foster the growth of plants, ideas, character, reputation, etc. With this dynamic, the engager stimulates growth in the people for whom they are responsible.

It’s About More Than The Work

We’re not just talking about career or work growth; people want to grow in their personal lives. I remember a manager who worked for the same company as me several years ago. He managed a contracted service where the employees worked for our company and the client paid a monthly fee for the services. He had hundreds of employees. They all made minimum wage with no prospect of increases due to the nature of the customer’s business. Most of those employees would have walked through walls for that manager. They came to work, they did a great job and they were loyal. Why? Because when they came to work for him they became better people. They grew personally. He brought in experts to teach classes on personal finances, he provided classes to improve the employee’s English or to gain computer skills. Things like that showed how much he valued the employees as people and they truly appreciated what they gained personally from that work environment.

More Than A Paycheck

We all want to contribute to our work’s Mission and Vision, but we also want our work to contribute to our personal growth and learning. How does my work make me a better, more rounded, more prepared person? One example is Safety. Often things we learn about safety at work transfer to our personal lives and help keep us safe at home. One of my clients was very concerned about cyber security and required an annual “Anti-Phishing” training of all their employees. Employees always commented afterward that what they had learned would help them protect themselves against fraud in their personal lives.

What Does Growth Mean?

Growth may need to be defined. For some it may mean taking classes (English as a second language, finance, computer skills, etc). For others, it may mean the chance to work on special projects whether work related or helping the organization be a good corporate citizen.

Cultivate is a connector dynamic because it says, “You are not just a number or a pair of hands to us. You are a valuable person.” The return is often increased loyalty to the leader and organization and an increased desire to help them grow in return.”

Equip – Engager Dynamic #3

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” That quote is attributed to Abraham Maslow from his 1966 book, The Psychology of Science.

Maslow’s quote has been interpreted as follows:

  1. With limited tools, single-minded people apply them inappropriately or indiscriminately
  2. If a person is familiar with a certain, single subject, or has with them a certain, single instrument, they may have a confirmation bias to believe that it is the answer to/involved in everything.

The Right Tools

Have you ever tried to paint a wall with a hammer? Hopefully not! Inversely, have you ever tried to drive a nail with a paint brush? You get the idea. I have driven a nail with a rock before. That’s ingenuity! It’s also what people resort to when they don’t have the proper tools or equipment. I haven’t been able to find a number describing how much time and property has been wasted in organizations due to lack of tools or improper use of tools. If you find one, please let me know. But, can you imagine it?

So, our next Engager Dynamic is “Equip.” To “Equip” simply means

  1. to supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose, and
  2. to prepare (someone) mentally for a particular purpose or task.
Both definitions imply that the equipping is done by someone for someone else. Guess who? The Engager, the boss is responsible to equip their team.

What Do They Need?

What tools or equipment are required for the various jobs on your team? It could be anything from PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to sophisticated machinery depending on the complexity of the job. But there are other kinds of tools and equipment such as access to systems and people, communication devices, etc. It is the responsibility of the organization in general and the boss in particular to ensure their people have these tools (and that they are in proper working order).

What about that second definition of “Equip,” the one that talks about preparing someone mentally? What does that look like? Some of it may have been covered under Training, but there is more. One critical thing that comes to mind is preparing your team members to thrive within the particular culture of your organization. If you’ve ever lived outside your home culture, you know what a challenge it can be to learn new customs. If you haven’t lived outside your home culture, think about your first week or month on a new job. How many times did you think, “I wish someone had told me we were supposed to (or not supposed to) do that?” Another way to help prepare people mentally will be covered under the Engager Dynamic called “Inspire.” Watch for that post later.
 

It’s a Challenge!

In my leadership matrix where I list six of the Engager Dynamics on the Connector Axis and six on the Challenger axis, Equip is listed on Challenger. Why? Well, not equipping someone is the same as saying, “We’re not all that serious about our expectations.” Also, you are providing an excuse for under performance. How many times have we heard people say, “I don’t have the right tools so I can’t do the work?”

Equipping someone says, “we’ve invested the time and resources to make sure you know what is expected from you and to train you how to meet those expectations. Now we’ve given you the precise tools to be successful, the ball is in your court.” That’s a challenge.

Train – Engager Dynamic #2

I can lay out clear expectations, be consistent with them and get all that right, but if my people don’t know the skills or how to perform the work they will never meet those expectations. So, the next Engager Dynamic is Training people how to meet your expectations.

An Example

Let’s use an acute care Hospital Environmental Services (housekeeping) department as an example. One of the responsibilities in this department is to clean the patient room after the patient has gone home to prepare it for the next patient. This is called a “Discharge Clean.” Now, I can explain the expectations; the room will look a certain way (even show a picture) when it’s done, it will pass a 14 point cleanliness inspection, and be completed within 30 minutes. Those are pretty clear, specific expectations. Everyone in the department would have to meet the same expectations so they are consistent. But, if I just communicate the expectations and walk away the employee will never be able to meet them. They don’t know how to perform the tasks and processes necessary to meet those expectations. I have to train them.

Step by Step

Early in my career I learned a 5-step training process that has served this dynamic well. The steps are as follows.

1. Tell Them – In this step you verbally explain everything needed to do the job. This will include the names of equipment, the tools necessary, how to operate them. Also important in this step is to explain why each step in this job is necessary and how this task contributes to the overall success of the company. You verbally walk the employee through each step in the process explaining tasks along the way.

2. Show Them – In this step you demonstrate what you have explained verbally. This can be done with training videos or in person. I prefer to do it in person in the environment where the employee will actually perform the work. You can have a skilled employee demonstrate the process and steps while you narrate or you can demonstrate yourself providing narration as you go.

3. Do it With Them – Here you will perform the job while the employee mimics you alongside. As you go through this step be sure to reinforce not only what needs to be done but also why and how it fits into the overall success of the company. This will provide memory pegs that will aid in learning and is also part of another Engager Dynamic called “Inspire” that we’ll discuss later.

4. Watch Them – In this step the employee performs the job by themselves while you observe. During this step ask questions to guide the employee if they are struggling and/or to continue reinforcing the whole learning process. It’s particularly helpful to ask questions about why each step is done

5. Have Them Teach You – In this step you switch roles. You have the employee pretend you are a new employee and they are the trainer. Have them teach you what they have learned. They should be able to go through the same process with you that you have gone through with them.

This is a basic training outline. Depending upon the complexity of the job, the prerequisite education or skills for the job, the learning pace of each employee, the amount of autonomy in the job, and other factors, this process could take hours, days, or weeks. You may need to go through the process more than once or repeat certain steps. It’s sometimes a good idea to break the steps up over a few days in order to help entrench the learning. Training is never a one-and-done proposition. In fact, one of the definitions of “Train” is,

“To teach (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.”

Once this outlined process has been completed, competence should be tested by you, the leader and cross-checked by another leader or skilled employee within two weeks and again at 30 days to assure the employee has learned the job.

Mistakes to Avoid

Leaders often make two critical mistakes when it comes to this Engager Dynamic. One of those mistakes is to rush the training process. Often we need the person up and running immediately so the temptation is to run them through some form of training, assume they’ve got it and send them on their way. Training is what Steven Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, called a Quadrant 2 activity. It is extremely important but not urgent in the same way as a ringing phone or getting to a meeting on time or someone stopping by to ask a question seems urgent. Do not let anything distract you from investing the necessary time and effort into training. It will pay dividends in the long run by preventing errors that could cost a lot of time and money.

A second critical mistake is to delegate the teaching entirely to someone else. This dynamic is listed on the Connector axis of the Leadership matrix. That is for a couple of reasons. First, when a company invests the time, money, and effort into a robust training program for both new hires and for continuing growth (see Engager Dynamic “Cultivate” –  coming soon) of existing employees, the message is “This is a great company; we believe in you and are glad you’re here.” This goes a long way in helping employees feel connected to the company and it’s values and purpose. The second reason Teaching is listed under Connection is that the time invested directly by the leader is the first real opportunity to develop a connection with the new employee. Leaders who are Engagers recognize the value of that connection and devote the necessary time to their people.

Think of It This Way

Another definition of “Train” is “To point or aim something (typically a gun or camera) at.” Think of it this way, when you take the time to properly train someone, you’re aiming them (and your organization) at success.

Expect – Engager Dynamic #1

“Expectation is the root of all heartache,” someone has said. I would agree with one clarification. It is unmet expectation that causes all heartache. It’s true in marriage, family, work, community, politics, etc. To go a step further, one of the most toxic killers in any relationship is unspoken expectations. Not meeting an expectation is one thing. Not knowing what the expectation is and then learning you didn’t meet it can be devastating.

Word Nerd Alert

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary an Expectation is

    “A feeling or belief about how successful or good someone or something will (should) be.”

 An Exercise in Unmet Expectations

I’ve taught this material in a classroom setting, I like to ask the group to take out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. I then ask them to put their name at the top of the paper and explain that I want to go through an important exercise with them. Then I tell them that the exercise is foundational to understanding the Engager Dynamics and have them number down the left side of the paper from 1 – 10. I explain that they have three minutes to complete the exercise. Then I tell them to begin.

What’s wrong with this exercise? There are no instructions, no expectations have been set. People don’t have any idea what I want them to do. They believe it’s important. They figure that I want 10 of something and they know the timeline. But, what in the world do I expect them to write? They haven’t a clue! You should see the reactions I get to this stress, and it’s artificially induced. Imagine the stress of a similar situation in real life . . . or maybe you don’t have to imagine.

A Real Life Example

I recently stopped at the drive-through of a well-known fast food restaurant for a cup of coffee. I waited for several minutes and the line didn’t move. Still wanting that cup of coffee, I decided to go inside. The scene inside was tense. Many people were waiting for food or to place their order. People in the back were working but things weren’t flowing and there was frustration in the air. A young woman whom I assume was the shift manager turned from the drive through window and said to the crew in the back, “C’mon you guys!” That was it, “C’mon you guys!” Nothing changed. I did eventually get my cup of coffee but it took way too long.

When the shift manager issued her exasperated rebuke, the looks on her colleague’s faces said, “What do you expect us to do?” There it is. What was the expectation? That was a real-life example of my staged exercise where unclear or missing expectations create stress.

What Do You Do?

The job of the Leader is to set clear expectations and make sure all employees know what the expectations are. Some examples include:

  • What Skills do you expect employees to have or gain?
  • What Duties do you expect the employees to perform?
  • What are the quality and timeline expectations?
  • What attitudes do you expect the employees to have toward each other, toward customers, the company, the boss?
  • What else do you expect? (e.g. do all your employees give you a “high five” when they see you? If so, will you expect that of new employees? If s/he doesn’t give you a “high five” will you be offended and think poorly of the new hires? It may sound silly, but that’s a real life example and these are the kinds of subtle things that can fall into the category of unspoken expectations. Be sure you’re self-aware)
How do you communicate your expectations?

  • Job descriptions
  • Duty Lists
  • During Training
  • Employee handbooks
  • Policies and Procedures manuals
  • Posters
  • Verbally
It is not enough to simply tell an employee about an expectation once and leave it at that. People need to hear a thing 3 – 7 times, preferably through different media, before it will really sink in. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. It is also very important to be consistent in your communication. Send the same message to each employee.

Setting clear Expectations that are communicated effectively and consistently will pay dividends on employee engagement not only for its own sake but also when it comes to Performance Evaluations and Trust. Both of these are critical Engager Dynamics we will discuss later. Expectations impact them both.

A Word About Barriers

Expectations can remain unmet for several reasons. For example, someone attempting to meet an expectation could be blocked by a co-worker, by broken or missing equipment or even by a policy that conflicts with the expected outcome. The result of blocked attempts to meet an expectation is frustration. Or, as in the examples above, expectations could be unclear causing anxiety among the workers. Failure to meet expectations causes discouragement which lowers morale. On the other hand, when expectations are clearly understood and met or exceeded, engagement occurs and morale improves.

Flip the Coin

 
Most conversations about expectations at work revolve around making sure employees know and meet (or exceed) the expectations of the company and their boss. Remember, employees have expectations, too. They have expectations about their co-workers, their relationship with the boss, the value of their work, etc. One of the best ways to engage employees around expectations is to exceed their’s.

 

Best.Boss.Ever.

Whenever I interview someone who’s applying for a job I always ask a set of specific attitude questions. Whether the person is interviewing for a senior management position or for an entry level position, one question I always ask is “Could you tell me about your best boss?” You learn an awful lot about a person from their answer to that question. You learn about their attitude toward authority and leadership in general. You learn about how they define “good” and “best”. You learn about how they define “leadership”. You learn about how they prefer to be managed.

These insights can be very helpful in a hiring decision. For example, if someone’s best boss was a person who managed them very closely so they always knew what the next step was, but the position I’m looking to fill requires that a person be able to work independently for a long period of time, the chances are good this candidate is not a fit.

What About the Worst?

I also ask the opposite question, “Could you tell me about your worst boss?” Also very revealing. An interesting thing about the answers I’ve heard to those questions, again whether entry level or leadership level, is that they include statements about how that boss made them feel. “I felt like I was being scrutinized and criticized at every turn.” “She gave me the freedom to ‘fail forward fast.'” From which category, best boss or worst boss, do you think each of those comments came? One of the benefits I have personally received from asking these questions is a kind of measuring stick for my own leadership. When I hear a candidate describe their best boss, it gives me a chance to reflect on whether or not I provide that kind of leadership for my people. Conversely, well, you get the idea.

What About You and Me?

That whole process also makes me wonder whose list I would make. Hopefully, your wondering the same thing or at least thinking about how you would answer those questions. I’ve been blessed to hear from some of my people that they considered me to be the best boss they’ve had. What a humbling joy to hear something like that! Who wouldn’t want to be the best boss someone has had?

How do you become that best boss? Think of the question from the point of view of ”The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind”. Steven Covey suggests imagining you are attending your own funeral. What would you want people to say about you? What about if you were to leave your current position or your company; what would you want people to say about you and your leadership? Whose list of “Best Bosses” would you be on? What does it take to be or become a “Best Boss?” That’s what this blog is all about. Keep checking in and feel free to leave comments.

A Word that Blew My Mind

פָּנִים

I called myself a “Word Nerd” in my last post.  It’s true, I am.  So I decided to share a word that blew my mind. I know that in the process I will be giving further evidence of my nerdiness but that’s OK.
A few years ago I was in a financial planning class and the instructor  made reference to an ancient Hebrew proverb. He was talking about taking care of your business in general terms. I was intrigued so I looked up the proverb and did what I usually do (word nerd). I broke it down and looked at the meanings of the words. The proverb in English says, “Be sure to know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever . . .” Proverbs 27:23 – 27 It goes on to say that if you take care of your flocks and herds, they will take care of you when times get tough.
The word that blew my mind was “condition,” not too amazing at first. But, the proverb was originally written in ancient Hebrew. I still have some tools from my ministry days, so I looked it up. The Hebrew word is Paniym (it’s the word pictured in the title of this post). It means “faces!” The proverb says, “Be sure to know the faces of your flocks . . .” When I discovered that meaning, the faces of all my colleagues at work started racing through my mind. I could see them happy, I could see them stressed, I could see them frustrated and angry. These people with whom I worked every day, most of them were my employees, were my flock. They were the ones who did the work that determined the success or failure of the business. The proverb goes on to say, as I further learned, “Put your heart into taking care of your herds!” Wow! My job is to take care of the people who do the work so they can take care of the work.
One of the main things I learned from this was that the principles of Employee Engagement are not new. This proverb was written around 3,000 years ago yet it sounds strangely like “The Service-Profit Chain,” (Harvard Business Review) and the findings of many other modern studies. Put your heart into taking care of the people that take care of your business. It makes sense. It has for a long, long time.

Employee Engagement – What does that mean?

In my last post I talked a little about how important Employee Engagement is and why I’ve joined the public conversation. In this post, I want to talk a little about what Employee Engagement is.

Break it Down

One thing I do to better understand a concept is to break it down and define the terms. For example, what is “Engagement?” I know I’m going to sound like a word nerd, but bear with me. The suffix “-ment” is magical. It turns a verb into a noun. Merriam-Webster says -ment identifies a “concrete result, object or agent of a specified action (e.g. embankment), or, the state or condition resulting from a specified action (e.g. encampment).” So, engagement is the concrete result or the state or condition resulting from someone engaging.

What does Engaging Mean?

Now I want to know what “Engaging” means. We use the verb “To Engage” in many ways. It can mean, for example:

  1. To attract and hold, by influence or power
  2. To Commit (bind) as to marry
  3. To weave into the fabric (interlock, mesh: gears)
  4. To engross (take and hold attention)
  5. To induce to participate, involve or cause to be included, to take part
  6. To Hire (e.g. a lawyer)
  7. To Enter into a contest or battle – competition
Each of those definitions adds a dimension to our understanding of engagement in an organization. Think about each one in the context of employee engagement–trust me, it’s fun! In broadest terms it seems to convey the idea of connecting things or people with or to a purpose. So, a person who engages could be called an “Engager.” In fact, in order for there to be engagement, there has to be an engager, someone who has engaged.

Who is the Engager?

But who is the engager? Some self-motivated people are natural engagers. It’s how they do life. When we have those people on our teams in an organization its a blessing. Most people, however, especially at work, need a little help getting engaged. That responsibility usually falls to their supervisor, the “boss.” So, when employee engagement happens, it’s usually the result of a boss acting as engager for their team.

Putting It All Together

OK, so now I want to know how that happens. If we say that a supervisor engages their employees, and mean they “induce or cause them to participate or be engrossed in their work” (see definitions  5 and 4 above), how do they do it? You know me, I went looking for a word to describe the forces or properties that stimulate growth, development, or change within a system or process. Wait a minute! That’s the very definition of “Dynamics!”
When I talk about Employee Engagement, I’m coming at it from the perspective of “Engager Dynamics.” I’m exploring the attributes and energies (yeah, more definitions. Those are other words for properties and forces) that make some bosses really good at engaging their employees; thus creating Employee Engagement.

Star Performance

Star Performance
Everyone wants to be a star. We have whole TV Shows dedicated to that desire. If  you’re an introvert and don’t like the idea of the limelight, OK, but everyone wants to be excellent at something. Organizations want to be stars, too. Most organizations use five metrics to measure their relative stardom. They may have different names for some of them like “Patient Experience” instead of “Customer Loyalty.” Non-Profits will not measure “Profit” but there is a performance-to-budget measurement of some kind. Star performance for any organization is when all the targets of these metrics are hit and there continues to be favorable movement in each one. The metrics used by most organizations as seen in the above diagram are Profit, Productivity, Safety, Customer Loyalty, and Employee Retention. The lines in the diagram represent the fact that these metrics don’t stand alone. They can impact each other. Movement in one metric effects movement in another. For example, improved Customer Loyalty usually means there is an improvement in Profit. It can go the other way, too. A healthy bottom line means the company is going to be around for the long haul and will usually be investing in improvements to its products or services. This often has a positive effect on Customer Loyalty. A good customer wants their supplier to be profitable.

Laggers

One challenge with each of these metrics, though, is that they are all trailing indicators. That means, like a report card in school, you don’t know how you did until all the numbers are in. For some of the metrics you have to wait an entire quarter to get the results. And then you can’t do anything more about it. Organizations will spend a lot of time and money on programs designed to correct one metric. For example, they may engage in cost-cutting efforts to improve Profit margins, or Lean principles to improve Productivity. How many Employee Retention strategies or Customer Loyalty programs or Safety initiatives have you experienced? It’s not that these are not helpful. In fact, as I mentioned before, positive movement in one metric can have a positive impact on another. Improved Safety performance can have a positive impact on Customer Loyalty especially if your Customers are very proud of their safety record. It can also improve Profit since Worker’s Comp costs are reduced. But, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a single metric that could move all of the others at once? Even better, what if that metric could provide predictive insight into the direction the other metrics were going to move? There is such a measurement. It’s called Employee Engagement.

A Prime Metric?

Employee Engagement (E2 in the diagram) directly impacts each of the other metrics. Favorable movement in Employee Engagement is an indicator that an organization’s other metrics will begin to move favorably as well. The data is out there on this. You can search Harvard Business Review or the Gallup Organization’s work. Countless other organizations have researched and demonstrated the role of Employee Engagement in performance improvement. One example is an article by Curt Coffman (co-author of First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently) and Jim Harter, Ph.D. called “A Hard Look at Soft Numbers,” in which the correlation between the Gallup Organization’s Q12 and several of the above metrics is demonstrated. It is also true that unfavorable movement in Employee Engagement will have a corresponding unfavorable impact on the other metrics.

Why Me?

I’ve been in the contract Management Services Industry for over 20 years. During that time I’ve worked for a couple of the industry leaders and had clients in multiple industries from Sports & Entertainment, to Transportation, to Manufacturing, to Healthcare.  It has been rare that I’ve run across an organization that “gets it” when it comes to Employee Engagement. I’ve encountered many individuals who do, but too many organizations run the spectrum from unaware or uninterested to “All Hat, No Cattle.” I cut my teeth on the principles of Employee Engagement during my 11 years as a pastor prior to entering industry. During that time I had the opportunity to study, up close and personal, the impact of principles on the character and behavior of individuals and organizations. When I transitioned from pastoral ministry to corporate America, I translated what I was about into this personal mission statement–“To build relationships within my sphere of influence through which I will help people discover and achieve their capacity for excellence.” It is that mission and some of the experiences I’ve had over the last 30+ years that lead me to join the Employee Engagement conversation.

My hope is that by adding my small voice to the conversation still others will catch on. Employee Engagement impacts organizational metrics, but it can’t be just about that. Employee Engagement is about employees, it’s about people. No matter what your widget, every business is a people business. Star performance begins with making work excellent for your people. Making work excellent for your people begins with being an excellent person. Here’s an important piece of information to close this post. Even if you’re not the “boss,” you can influence your organization’s stardom. I look forward to the conversation.