What have you done today to fight disengagement in your organization ?

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The employee disengagement topic has been all the rage for the last few years. It has become the new major waste we want to address in Corporatica. Many studies (McLeod’s being the most inspiring to me), many blog posts, there are tons of thinking about it. But what about the doing ?

I hear many people whingeing about it : “the teams are not engaged, they don’t walk the extra-mile, yada yada yada …”

When I hear this, I tend to become impatient and feel like asking that question : and what have you done today to fight this lack of engagement ?

Here are 15 questions to benchmark your implication in the disengagement battle :

  1. Have you thanked someone who did something for you ?
  2. Have you actively listened to someone talking about a personal issue while showing sincere interest ?
  3. If you have organized any meeting (God forbid), have you make a clear statement of what the objectives were ? Written any minute ? Time-boxed it ?
  4. If you have presented any slide deck (God forbid again) have you made sure this was not Death by Powerpoint ?
  5. Have you prevented yourself from talking about someone who were not there ? Have you stopped anyone from talking about someone who were not there ?
  6. Have you helped people envision the full picture and the purpose of what they were working on ?
  7. Have you defended somebody else’s great idea that was being attacked by a Devil’s Advocate” ?
  8. If you made any new mistake (if you haven’t, it means you haven’t tried hard enough), have you openly stated that you were wrong. Have you been clear about what you’ve learned in the process ?
  9. Have you been careful about not using forbidden words while talking with a colleague about her work ?
  10. Have you been tough with situations while being kind to people ?
  11. Have you given people clear criteria of success while giving them as assignment ?
  12. Have you walked the distance to talk to the person you wanted to initially send an email ?
  13. How you given the ownership of something good back to the right person when this ownership was mistakenly given to you ?
  14. Have you delivered what you were expected to today ? Have you created any tangible value ? Have you helped people to deliver tangible value ?
  15. Have you limited the emails you sent to a few lines with straight to the point actionable items ?

The list could go on for ever. What are the important questions I have forgotten ?

If you haven’t done any of the above and you’re still complaining about people in your organization being disengaged, I am afraid you’re wasting everybody’s time in fruitless incantations.

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2 comments

  1. Interesting topic, I think what you are describing is not the cause of disengagement, it is the consequence. A consequence that people does not have the ability to do the job the way they want to and at the pace they want to. I am not a specialist on the subject like you are but, in my humble opinion, disengagement comes from growing frustrations that have not been addressed. Generally, any worker wants to his job well. In order to achieve his tasks he needs to have access to the knowledge he needs and to be the owner of the responsibility he is asked to fulfill. Too many times in companies, the knowledge are being hidden or simply forgotten.

    Moreover, too many times I’ve seen companies trying to impose a too rigid way of working. This is also causing disengagement, if you do not like the way you do it, there is a high chance you would not really what you do.

    So if we do what you are describing, of course it would create a better place to work but would it be more effective? Not sure about that.

    • Hello and many thanks for your comment.

      I’m no expert, I am just wondering. I fully share your perspective : the idea is not to “directly” have an effect on organization effectiveness but rather to make it a more engaging place. Or just a decent place. Yet there is still work afterwards to make it more effective.

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