Posted by: drewdice | November 23, 2011

The Real Rules of Engagement

27,300,000 entries on Google
3,420 videos on YouTube
2,884 books on Amazon

With all of the thought leadership, writing, speaking, watching and overall concentration on the topic of Employee Engagement, I think it is reasonable to expect that the level of individual and organizational performance would be better than what occurs on a daily basis.

After reflecting on this subject (quite often, actually), I’ve got two critical areas I believe contribute to poor performance:

– Lack of clarity: When organizations talk about higher levels of engagement, most of the time, the direction given is not outcome focused, which creates high degrees of variability in what people actually do. For example, ‘fostering more teamwork’ and ‘focusing on the customer’ are not defined outcomes, and so individuals will define what those terms mean to them. When this happens, there are multiple versions of the truth, confusion surfaces (for the employees and customers), and muted business impact results
– Lack of purpose: Too often, organizations drive what they want people to do (but, as I’ve shared above, not very clearly), but not how that ‘what’ connects to the overall purpose of the organization (this, by the way, can be applied to an individual, as well. Often, people focus on what they are doing, but not how that ‘what’ connects to their personal purpose). As Simon Sinek shares in his latest book, Start with Why, employees and customers engage much more actively, passionately, consistently and productively when there is clarity around the ‘Why’ – what I call the purpose

As humans, we are driven to achieve, make progress, and contribute to something greater than ourselves – yes, even those individuals who you think are infinitely lazy, unmotivated, and who ‘couldn’t care less’ – they share similar aspirations. While I have no scientific evidence to prove this, I wholeheartedly believe that people are not born predisposed to underachieve and live an uninspired life. In my opinion, they are not connected to their personal and/or organizational purpose

I subscribe to the thought that this is a ‘hard simple’ issue to address – simple in principle, but very challenging in the execution. As an individual, it starts with being your personal board of directors, and really coming to grips with the purpose behind your life – Why are you really here? When all is said and done, how will you know you have been successful? From an organizational perspective, the questions are very much the same. I realize that organizations do exist to make a profit, but really, that is a means to greater end (or, it should be, in my eyes).

What really is the purpose of the organization, and what will you do as a leader to create a nimble, customer (internal and external) focused, well aligned machine that exists solely to live into the vision of the purpose? Start here, and I am confident that you will be amazed at how much better you and your organization can, and will, perform

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