The Gallup Organization regularly surveys the workforce to measure levels of employee engagement. The latest figures for North America show that only 36% of the workforce consists of engaged employees (loyal and productive). Over half, 54%, are not engaged (just putting in time), while 16% are actively disengaged (unhappy and spreading their discontent).
Why is such a high percentage of the workforce not engaged? Is it because old forms of security and certainty have disappeared and we haven’t figured out how to operate standing on a bowl of Jell-O? Regardless, we all may be in need of new tools and processes to increase active engagement.
We are moving out of the information age and into the age of consciousness where people are relating to the world in a deeper, more meaningful way, caring for the world around them and their role in it. People appreciate that collective participation leads to better solutions and commitment to those solutions.
Use Leverage to Mobilize Strategic Action
Focus on Nine Points of Leverage
Using leverage mean placing the most emphasis and energy to get maximum strategic advantage from your actions. Experience with client organizations has shown that certain dynamics in an organization provide more leverage than others. The nine points where leverage is most likely are shaded in the Dynamics Screen. The leverage dynamics are numbered in order of importance.
The leverage point in the Economic Dynamic identifies client needs and drives everything in today’s organization. The five leverage points in the Cultural Dynamic are: clarifying purpose, shaping the work environment, creating shared values, releasing team spirit and developing innovative methods. These dynamics are critical in creating an atmosphere of commitment, synchronizing time and space with the purpose and ensuring the importance of people as a guiding principle for the organization. In today’s workplace, team spirit is essential. Finally, the three leverage points in the Political Dynamic are: ensuring information access, articulating clear expectations, and determining appropriate consensus.
Since the greatest emphasis during the last four decades has been in the Economic Dynamic, it is not surprising that the greatest leverage today is in the Cultural Dynamic in order to rebalance thinking in an organization.
You get the most results from your efforts when you:
1. Identify client needs to understand the demands of today’s marketplace.
2. Clarify common purpose to understand who you are and why you are involved in the organization. When the purpose changes, all the other dynamics must be realigned with the new purpose.
3. Make certain there is meaningful information access so people can be involved and engaged—significant engagement. The key is learning how to quickly extract meaning from data and information.
4. Reshape the work environment and culture so the use of time, space and relationships support the common purpose.
5. Create shared values that highlight what is important in the operating values.
Changing Operating Values
"We have a job to do."
"Let's do what is needed."
"No one tells us anything."
"Who are we serving?"
"What are we doing?"
"What is our responsibility?"
"We can try this."
"What would happen if?"
6. Release a team spirit that mobilizes energy and commitment with an entrepreneurial attitude.
7. Develop innovative methods to grow knowledge. Encourage and train people in leading facilitative conversations that solve problems, clarify issues, change work patterns, and create new ideas.
8. Articulate clear expectations to empower people to act like owners and get things done. Leadership models expectations consistently.
9. Provide support for appropriate consensus decision making.
Finding the places for greatest leverage and prioritizing becomes the guide for moving strategically when managing change.
When change turns into a struggle, look at these leverage points to find what is needed. First observe and measure what people care about, talk about and do. Then share information to deepen awareness and build self-confidence and empowerment. The key is to assess where to put emphasis to make the most impact with your efforts.
Nine Leverage Points for Strategic Action
Reference: Institute of Cultural Affairs, Social Process Triangles; The Facilitative Way: Leadership That Makes A Difference
“No man is an island” in today’s knowledge-based global society. We learn and grow in leaps and bounds when we get together and share our experiences. This is why facilitative leadership is a valuable competency for leadership, teams, and organizational performance. It is empowering for employees to be engaged in learning conversations that access the wisdom of the group and enable people to participate and contribute to the growth, development, and success of a company. When individuals feel a sense of empowerment they are living a life force that is unstoppable and will enable the organization to reach its goals.
How are you offering your people deeper meaning at work while at the same time achieving your organizational goals?
How do you connect and awaken the inner life force that inspires and drives employees to get up and face each day anew?
Most leaders have this desire, but are committed to a way of thinking that treats people as a means to an end. For organizations to prosper, each person needs to connect their sense of purpose to that of the organization’s mission and purpose. Understanding how to connect with people on a deeper level is the first step. Becoming a more proficient facilitative leader or manager helps in building a more meaningful, engaging, and empowering work environment.
The Technology of Participation (ToP) Group Facilitation Methods provide facilitation tools and techniques that are necessary to support transformation and change. Equipped leaders engage their people by exploring topics in ways that surface different experiences and associations on a topic or issue. When combined, the insights form a new picture and create a new level of conscious awareness, generating new ideas or solutions to customer problems. Unleashed creativity and innovation can then be the genesis for new products.