Continued writing and reading and writing has been pretty interesting as I bounce different ideas off different people. A couple of conversational threads in LinkedIn, some emails to old friends, some unexpected reinforcement and the like has bumped my thinking once again. So I thank all for helping me work through what I think are some grounded ideas about actually impacting people and making improvements in the workplace that generate results.
Download the article by clicking here: I Quit Never mind Whatever
And I like how it flows. That is the anchor point for my new toolkit, since it is helping me to frame up issues and opportunities and thus guide my toolkit development and instructional materials. A friend emailed me asking for the final copy of the article and my response was that things are never final in how I work which is one reason why the toolkit is not done. Continuous continuous improvement is a double-edged sword in that one never quite seems to finish something. (I sent him the most recent final draft.)
I was chatting with a like-minded soul on LinkedIn about the issues we have both seen on the themes of empowerment, that the word acquired all kinds of bad associations about doing things to people, rather than acting on their needs. So, I shared some stats on this engagement work that I am doing and that gave me a new word:
No longer will we simply do “engagement surveys” and ask people for what is wrong since there is an overwhelming amount of data showing that nothing is accomplished but talking. (Employee engagement has actually declined from 24% to 13% in the past two years (Mercer, 2012) which is surprising since billions of dollars are being spent on the surveys!). Obviously, there is little visible impact from all this spending so this “engagement fad” may be doomed to go away.
The reality, though, is that this engagement stuff can really work — the issue is about implementation. People have solid ideas about what can (and should) be done differently but it is the isolation of the leadership that often creates the problems. Call it courage, if you will, but most senior leaders refuse to let go of the rope and understand how things are really working at the back of their wagons. It looks like this:
And appears to the people in the workplace more like this:
The above may not be reality — it may be that the supervisor / Wagon Puller may feel that their hands are tied by the isolation of their managers and, thus, feel un-empowered and roadblocked to try to do things differently even when the managers and the survey both say improvement and involvement are needed.
Engagimentation is not a difficult concept. It is about generating and collecting the people’s ideas for what can be done differently and actually acting on those ideas in a way that generates visibility. Trust in this process can build up over time, but it is the residue of promises fulfilled.
I plan to share a lot more ideas about this but the article is a reasonable place to start. The crazy thing is that the solutions are not all that hard and simply require the active involvement and participation of the managers and supervisors to make change. The changes do NOT look like this:
Have fun out there and jump in if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions.
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org
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