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Engagement is an Inside Job
Guest articles > Engagement is an Inside Job
by: Jim Clemmer
"The man who gets the most satisfactory results is not
always the man with the most brilliant single mind, but rather the man who can
best coordinate the brains and talents of his associates."
When faced with major organizational problems, managers often hire consultants to help provide a solution. The consultant will usually interview people, run focus groups, and gather input from a variety of sources. Many good ideas are sifted through and the most relevant one presented to management along with the consultant's recommended action plan.
As a company that does a lot of this kind of work, we don't find the practice objectionable! What saddens us is how frequently the ideas that most excite managers are ones that have existed inside the organization for years. Yet managers are often hearing them for the first time. Or they are finally paying attention because the ideas are coming from outside experts. This points to a major failure of leadership within the organization.
In such cases, managers often will have tried to solicit ideas using various formalized approaches, such as suggestion boxes. These are rarely effective. A disgruntled staff member once put a sign on a suggestion box that summed up the consensus view of this approach: "Please don't put any more ideas in here. The handle is broken and it won't flush." Instead, the organization needs to focus on the leadership values of partnership, participation, and involvement. Without these values there is no system that can foster the communication necessary to keep ideas flowing.
Success Profiles studied 150 companies to understand the impact of "a business excelling in Feedback and Engagement where employees work each day in an environment where their feedback is elicited, valued, and acted upon." They found the companies that best met this description experienced revenue growth many times higher than those companies with low levels of feedback and engagement. They also studied organizational communication and employee access to information, and discovered that "companies demonstrating poor performance in this business practice had nearly twice the employee turnover as those companies achieving only average performance."
The evidence clearly shows that building partnerships through involvement and participation is the strong leadership that leads to high performance:
Jim Clemmer’s practical leadership books, keynote presentations, workshops, and team retreats have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide improve personal, team, and organizational leadership. Visit his web site, http://jimclemmer.com/, for a huge selection of free practical resources including nearly 300 articles, dozens of video clips, team assessments, leadership newsletter,Improvement Points service, and popular leadership blog. Jim's five international bestselling books include The VIP Strategy, Firing on All Cylinders, Pathways to Performance, Growing the Distance, and The Leader's Digest. His latest book is Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work.
Contributor: Jim Clemmer
Published here on: 30-Nov-08