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Monday, July 09, 2007

Engaging Your Workforce

An “engaged worker” is one who’s personally committed to the goals of the company.

Unfortunately, “90% of the time, what passes for commitment is actually.....compliance.”

However, people have tremendous reservoirs of endurance, creativity, passion, energy and enthusiasm for the things they believe in. If you can’t get the people in the organization engaged in the ongoing need to continually improve, then no improvement approach can last.

Therefore, an approach that’s going to work over the long haul must engage the individuals in the organization.

Warnings signs of people not being engaged:

  • Poor understanding about how an individual’s work connects to
    the purposes of the company.
  • Poor, limited communication with team members about the purpose
    of the organization, its strategies, challenges, strengths, weaknesses,
  • Expectations aren’t properly set in the minds of all staff members,
    resulting in disappointment, frustration or resentment.
  • There’s an imbalanced focus on short-term achievement, instead
    of long-term thinking.
  • People are hired who are not aligned with your mission and values,
    resulting in a weakening of company culture.

BOTTOMLINE: One of the top priorities of leadership is learning how to engage their team to strive for the company’s goals. Given that execution is a far greater challenge than strategy formulation, the ultimate core competency for any organization is realized when “all individuals make strategy (execution) their everyday job." To achieve this kind of engagement first requires overcoming any lack of understanding or clarity of what is expected. Research shows that “less than 5% of the typical workforce understands their organization’s strategy.”

The existence of a well-thought-out mission, strategic position, and values and goals statement provides an essential foundation for building this understanding. Because of the size of their organizations, small and mid-sized business leaders have an enormous advantage in being able to get in at the “ground level” to build the kind of understanding that really unleashes the innovative potential of their team.

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