23 Aug Why Engagement Isn’t Enough
Are you engaged at work? How about your employees? Your teams? Your executive team? Whether it is your own data or the data from Gallup…we know for a fact many of the people who lead, sell, manage or power our organizations are not engaged. Why isn’t that alone enough to bring any CEO or talent management professional to their knees? Well it is because even those that are engaged may be hurting the organization.
Engagement is about willingness, discretionary effort, interest, enthusiasm and excitement. All wonderful attributes we hope for and encourage and measure in our employees and on our teams. But what are these efforts being directed towards?
Here is the other sign of the proverbial success coin…alignment. Alignment is the awareness and support of the organizational goals. The knowledge of what everyone should be doing to move towards the organizational goals.
I know you have been there. You ask what someone is doing and you are shocked! They have just spent hours and maybe even days on a project, initiative or task that is no longer important! But they did it with such energy and enthusiasm and even precision. I see and hear stories like this every day.
So what can or should you do about situations like this. Here are three tips:
- Be clear. Make sure everyone (starting with yourself) is crystal clear on what success looks like. What is your vision? Does your leadership team know it? DO your employees? Start asking everyone what they think the vision of the organization is.
- Be specific. Ensure the roles and responsibilities of everyone are in support of that vision. Dive into how each role helps get to that vision. Help make the connection.
- Be present. I know how busy you are! I also know how difficult it has been for many organizations to transition so quickly to working remotely. You need to know what is going on. You need to purposefully connect with your people. Ask them what they are doing, what is on their priority list, what are they enjoying, what is not lighting them up, what specifically are they working on, how long it will take, what will a successful completion look by and by when, what do they need from you, what challenges and obstacles are they facing, how can you minimize those challenges for them. The goal is not to micromanage, in fact by asking these questions up front it gives you the peace of mind that they are on the right path towards the organizational vision and it gives them the confidence and freedom to do their best work.
Engagement is not enough. The magical formula is engagement plus alignment. Then you have what authors MacLeod and Brady call the High Flyers. They are the ones in your organization who both individually and collectively are motivated and working together as a fully coordinated team. These high flyers are energized and enthusiastic about their work which they are very clear about. Their performance is exemplary and everything gets done with a positive attitude. Their individual and team goals are lined up perfectly to support organizational targets, and they know to work on activities that are of highest priority and highest value. This is a team I want to work on or with -everyone present and working towards the same purpose. How about you?