Best Employee Engagement Posts for Feb 16th

Sorry to be so obvious here, but I must reiterate once again… When we help our employees become more engaged in their work, productivity, innovation, revenues, (I could keep going…) rise.

But to help them we must do things differently than we do today!  There is no doubt about that.

Yes, it’s scary.  Yes, it is not the norm.  But when it happens it is glorious!

We allow them to bring out the gifts and talents that our current structures and cultures naturally hide.  They use these to the benefit of those around them.  And soon the company is fulfilling its purpose better than it ever has.

This is where we want to get.  But it will take some change.

Each of these articles talk about making a different change.  Not all are not focused on employee engagement, but they have important information in them which we need to consider.

Let these sink in and think about how you can use them to help each person love their work and be more productive and engaged in their job.

Have some fun with these ideas this week!



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New Leadership Choices: Are You the Leader This Moment Requires?

“The future of work calls for an overhaul of business and work design. Each company’s needs are different, but the overall trend is moving away from 20th-century hierarchies to a wirearchy — leveraging the power of networks and communities to organize work and responsibilities.” Amen.  (read more…)



Five minutes with… Jane McKay, Senior HR Officer, VECCI

This point is KEY: Change management will involve everyone, not just managers.  “Change management will become an integral part of our positions, as we seek to bring our employees on a journey towards a culture that is characterised by collaboration and promotes increased productivity, efficiency, flexibility and greater engagement.” (read more…)



The Future of Work

“In an effort to attract skilled talent, make decisions and take action in a faster, more agile way, more companies are also adopting a flat working structure which is simpler, non-hierarchical, collaborative and multi-skilled. These organizational models are better suited to the more complex and less structured nature of 21st century work.” (read more…)



The Future of Management – Recipes and Mastery

Simon nailed it.  “When you let go of the management recipes, things do get more challenging. Measures are not as precise. Interventions are not as predictable. The shift for managers is from focusing on efficiency to focusing on effectiveness. In our traditional efficiency mindset we rarely consider the human potential lost because policy prevents action or requires wasteful steps.” (read more…)

How to Convert Introverts into Extroverts

How to Convert Introverts into Extroverts

As part of the Employee Engagement Design method, we interview employees. I could do this 10,000 times and I will always be amazed at what I learn.

Recently I was interviewing an employee of a company as part of an effort to understand their current culture.  He was one of hundreds of engineers who have been labeled as introverts.  He said that anything we do must take into account that fact that we are dealing with many introverts because they respond differently to company initiatives.

When he said this, a little devious thought came in my mind.

I asked him what he loves to do outside of work.  He said he loves to play video games.  I asked what kind.  Because I don’t play video games he described a type of game I have never heard of before.

“Do you play this game with others?”

He smiled.  “You bet.  There are a lot of people who play.”

“And when you hang out with others who play this game, do you talk about the game?”

With great enthusiasm he said, “Sometimes that’s all we talk about.  We discuss strategy, different levels, how to get powers and weapons. We kind of geek out on these games.  It is a lot of fun.”

By the end of his explanation he was leaning forward, talking without hesitation, and was really quite animated.

I sat back, paused, and smiled.

“So, are you introverted now?”

He sat back, his eyes darted off to the side, and there was a long silence.

“No.  I guess I’m not.”

Suddenly this shy, introverted man was transformed before me into a vibrant, extroverted game player.

This made me wonder – why is an introvert an introvert?  Is it mostly because that is who they are, or is it that their environment creates them?

Now I’m not suggesting that introverts are bad and that extroverts are better – or that there are not those that naturally are introverted.  But I wonder – how much is the work environment encouraging it?

How are you designing your culture?  Are you just letting it happen, or are you specifically designing it so that the environment brings out the characteristics, skills, and passions your employees already possess?

Does your environment create introverts that hold back, are shy, and don’t want to engage?  Or does it create those who are passionate about their work; those who will give you their discretionary time voluntarily and enthusiastically?

When we let our environments just happen, it will take the path of least resistance.  But when we purposefully design employee engagement, we can bring out the valuable characteristics our companies need.



Ask yourself these questions:


  • Do I have mostly introverted or extroverted people in my company?
  • What in the work environment reinforces that behavior?
  • Is it the behavior we want?
  • What can we do to make it better?


(Photo: © 2013 Nguyen Hung Vu, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio)

Best Employee Engagement Posts for Feb 9th

Combine the WHY and the art of Lingering, and I have learned this week to slow down a bit.  Maybe still not as much as I need to, but more than I have.

Instead of a mad rush in our businesses, what if we were to linger a little longer, discover our WHY, and then be really thoughtful about where that will take us?  I wonder what would happen if we were to value that as much as a hyper-focus on productivity alone.  I would not be surprised if productivity increased even more than before.

Just a few thoughts as you start this busy week.

-Kevin Jones

AAAt some start-ups, Friday is so casual that it’s not even a workday

“At first, I thought, ‘This is insane; We’ve got way too much work to do,’ ” Carson said. “But the more I thought about it, really, running your own company is about creating your own universe. So why not create a universe you’d want to live in? That’s when the idea went from stupid and crazy to, maybe we should actually do that. So we tried it one week, and never looked back.” (read more…)


ABLessons in Learning to Linger

“I have long pondered the importance of slowing down, of pausing long enough to reflect on what a particular situation or circumstance could teach me. The problem is, I have not been very successful in actually doing something to periodically interrupt the ever-present pull to hurry along, to get busy pursuing the next thing on my ‘to-do’ list.

But I decided recently, enough is enough. If I am truly going to live up and into my potential as a leader, at home, at work, in my church, and in my community, I need to spend more time pausing to appreciate, reflect, and learn from life’s ordinary moments.” (read more…)


ACDeloitte: Millennials Are Not as Different as Originally Thought

Maybe the flexibility is the most important thing for employee engagement.  “Findings show that work is changing in that it is more flexible, open and tech-friendly than ever before. While nine out of ten employees would prefer to work at the office, they still want the option of working from home if necessary. 62 per cent of millennials and 59 per cent of non-millennials feel open and connected to their coworkers which close to two-thirds agree they seek such connection in an ideal workplace.” (read more…)


ADDisruptive Startups Sell What Customers Want– And Let Competitors Sell What They Don’t

Although focused on startups, there is a lot to be learned about how successful ones run and how we can engage our employees better.  “The companies spearheading the trend look for opportunities to deliver what is of most value to the consumer while stripping away what’s not—leaving the rest to be delivered by the established player.”  There is something here for us to learn in “decoupling.” (read more…)

AEHow 14 Successful Entrepreneurs Discovered Their Life Purpose

Have you found your purpose – your WHY?  Employees who know their WHY are automatically engaged.  No coorsion, no extrinsic incentives, no extra programs.  It just happens.  Here is a list of how others found their WHY. (read more…)

2015 – Focusing on Employee Engagement Design

Over the last year I have been focused on The Future of Work. This topic is fascinating to me and I have absolutely love it, the people I have met and interacted with, and the organizations I have worked with.  The possibilities are HUGE!

But that’s part of the problem with the Future of Work: the topic is HUGE itself.

Take a look at a Google search on the Future of Work.  When you dive into the results you find that this phrase refers to:

  • Robots
  • Transportation
  • Employee engagement
  • Office layout
  • Working from home
  • Contracting vs. FTE
  • …even outer space

And the list goes on.   And while these are all great discussions around the Future of Work, I am not an expert in robots, or outer space, nor do I want to dive deep into working from home.  Those subjects may come up, but they aren’t my main focus.

My expertise has always been more focused.  This title has been a good catchall, but it is time to get more specific.

2015 is the year for more focus

My color-blindness is a gift.  I believe that I was given this condition to slow me down.  Had I been able to see colors normally I believe I would have gone into graphic design at an early age.

I feel like Ariel from the Little Mermaid:  “I want to see what the people see…”  But, alas, I can’t.  And no sea witch will make it happen. (And if she did appear one day, I think I would be freaked out.)

Unfortunately, graphic (and other types 0f) design is out of the question.  But because I do love it, it got me thinking…

After some deep thinking about where I have been, where I am going and what I love to do today, I learned some things about myself.

Self-Lesson #1: I am a designer at heart.

Although I can’t design with color, I love the creative process of designing, experimenting, testing, refining, pivoting, focusing on the end “user,” and creating solutions that excite everyone who use the design.  The urge to make things better is in my blood.  Not just incrementally better (although that works, too), but dramatically better.

Self-Lesson #2: I am a fan of human / organizational potential.

Not in a fake motivational type of way, but in a, “Do you really realize what you are capable of?!” way.  Too many are stuck in the normalcy and mediocrity of life that they overlook the possibilities which will far surpass what they think they are capable of.

Self-Lesson #3: I am not a fan of the status quo.

As I have quoted before, “Safety’s just danger out of place.” We don’t question status quo enough.  Sure, there is some comfort in normalicy.  With my family of ten there MUST be.  But there are times to disrupt and upend the day-to-day so that we can continue to progress.  As Seth Godin said, “Art, though, requires both pride and disobedience.  The pride of creation and the disobedience of disturbing the status quo” (The Icarus Deception).

Self-Lesson #4: I am at my best when helping others.

My wife and I wish we could serve people all day, every day.  But realistically, you need some way to pay to raise eight children.  And so I work.  But my work is what I love to do.  It is not only what I love, but also what I feel “called” to do.

Rather than focusing on the work part, when I focus on the serving aspect, everything else turns out and I do well financially.  And I’m happier!

Q: Put those altogether and what do we have?  A: What I have been focusing on all along without even realizing how to describe it.  Now I can.

I help people love their work by designing employee engagement.

I help people love their work.  And when they love their work, they are SO MUCH MORE productive! Employees are happier and more productive and the company is more successful.  So I also help organizations design employee engagement strategies so their employees will love their work.

And it really is design.  Using design thinking and practices from IDEO and IBM, combined with ethnography, Human Performance Technology methodologies, and some of my own tools I have created like PING (coming soon), Adoption Index, The Change Agent Handbook, and more, I design environments where people are fully engaged in their work.  When that happens, the potential of each person can shine and the organization is in a place to take off.

That is what I do.  That is what I love.  That is who I authentically am.

More importantly, that’s how I help others. Employee Engagement with a design perspective and methodology.


Best Employee Engagement Posts for January

The best Employee Engagement posts from the last little while…



A New Definition for “Engagement”

Engagement — variously defined as “involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort and energy” — has now been widely correlated with higher corporate performance.

(read more…)



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In the 21st century, we need less PowerPoint and more conversations

Leaders have a huge opportunity to reinvent the workplace to tap into people’s needs for purpose and meaning by aligning talent with key projects. This will lead to the much-needed opportunities for innovation and productivity improvements.

(read more…)



The Goals of Empowerment & Engagement

Empowerment and Engagement are not in vogue today simply because they are another set of motherhood issues. They are not a component of the  of  Human Performance Technology or Improvement crowd’s latest proclamations – simply because they will make people feel better about themselves and will, therefore, make them work harder and be more productive for the business entity.

(read more…)

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Forget SMART Goals — Try CLEAR Goals Instead

The problem with SMART goals is that they just haven’t kept up with the faster, more-agile environment that most businesses find themselves in today. According to Adam, these new business environments require a new way of setting goals, thus CLEAR goals. CLEAR stands for… 

(read more…)

5 Liberating Signs You Love Your Job

This video has been a long time in planning.  Ever since Walk Off The Earth remade the song Little Boxes, I have been obsessed with the correlation between the song and what I observe all too often.

I see people who love their work and others who don’t.

And there is a stark contrast. To those who don’t, I want to say, “Yes!  You, too, can love your work!”

There is this obsession I have to help others love their work and to help companies create organizations where everyone is there because they want it.

It is liberating.  It certainly beats the alternative!  Anyone can have this experience in their work.  I hope you are one of them.

Here are five liberating signs you love your job.

1) You leave work more excited then when you arrived.

Sure, everyone has bad days.  But when bad days becomes the norm instead of the exception, something is wrong.  Rather, it is possible to come home more excited and energetic then when you arrived – regularly!

2) The alarm goes off and you jump out of bed.

You should be jumping out of your bed saying, “Yes!  I can’t wait to work on…”  Is this just a fantasy?  Not at all!  Those who love their work regularly are waking up early with ideas that won’t leave them alone until they act on them.  And they can’t wait to work on the ideas.

3) You chose your work because you wanted it, not because it was the best you could find.

There have been times when I took a job because it was the best option I could find.  But it is best if you are working because you want to be there, because you choose to be there.

4) Your paycheck is a side benefit.

Your paycheck should be a bonus.  Yes, it needs to support you and your family.  But while you work you shouldn’t be thinking, “I can’t wait to get paid,” because the biggest form of payment you get is the satisfaction from doing the work.

5) You know why you are working.

You have a purpose, a deep desire that you are fulfilling in your work.  What is your WHY?  You know it and are actively working toward it.  And love every minute of it.  Yes, even those times it is rough and nothing seems right, you still love it because your purpose is stronger than the lows you will experience.

Anyone can break free from little boxes.  Anyone.

And guess what?

It’s Your Turn!

I want to know…

How are you breaking free from little boxes?

The Future of Work is Ramping Up – The Future of Work, Best of the Best Posts – December 1

The Future of Work is Ramping Up – The Future of Work, Best of the Best Posts – December 1

There are changes coming to the way we work.  You can see it, you can feel it, and, as exemplified by below, you can read about it.

The only question is, when will it happen for you and your organization?

With the new year coming up, let’s resolve to take a better look and figure out how our teams will change to take advantage of the possibilities in front of us.



The correct environment will determine your future of work.  Not only the political and emotional environment, but also the physical.  These steps go right along with the principles of the future of work.

Read more…




“Large organizations of all types suffer from an assortment of congenital disabilities that no amount of incremental therapy can cure.  First, they are inertial… Second, large organizations are incremental… And finally, large organizations are emotionally sterile… As the winds of creative destruction continue to strengthen, these infirmities will become even more debilitating.”

Read more…



bookshelfSmarter in 7 Minutes: Ultimate Business Wisdom from 3 Decades of Bestselling Books

#1 starts out with, “Find your Why.”  Instantly you know this one is a keeper.  The WHY is the basis of everything Future of Work.  And the other points are spot on, as well.  Read.  Learn.  Do.

Read more…



FutureOfWorkCisco study shows how technology will shape the “future of work”

This study has a ton of great facts and figures to think about and use as we gear up toward the new year.  We can use these to help shape our goals.  Lots of tweetable tidbits.

Read more…

Be Thankful For Your Work – The Future of Work, Best of the Best Posts – November 24

With the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday in the United States, I hope everyone who reads this is thankful for their work.

I hope you love it so much that you jump out of bed every morning, ready to start on the ideas swarming in your head.

I hope that when you think of the phrase “Future of Work” you think, “I’m living that!”

I hope that you are helping others life their future of work and love what they do.

I hope you are creating teams that are organized on new principles that allow them to continually amaze you by the awesome work they do.

I hope that your work is more than just a paycheck.  If that is all it is, I challenge you to work all year so that next Thanksgiving day, you will look back and be very thankful for being able to do work you love.

As we look toward the future, we have a lot to be thankful for.  And I hope your work is one of them.



Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 8.17.19 AM13 Scary Statistics on Employee Engagement

“There is a serious problem with the way we work. Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever. The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix…”  (read more…)

Heaven-is-5000-Feet-Above-The-GroundHave you found ‘your thing’ yet?

“Every single one of us on this planet has at least one ‘thing’ on this planet that makes us come alive. We may have discovered it as a kid (like me) . Or it may have taken several decades for us to peel back the layers of your soul enough to get to the heart of it. And some of you reading this still may not know what that magical thing is. To you I say – keep peeling back the layers. One day that magical ‘thing’ will hit you and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.”  (read more…)


“You shouldn’t barge into your boss’s office tomorrow to announce that you quit, especially if you don’t have a well-thought-out plan. But if you have been toying with an idea for a business or have already started one on the side, I will share some of the benefits of leaving your day job to dive into your startup.”   (read more…)

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Being Happy at Work Matters

“My research with dozens of companies and hundreds of people — as well as the research conducted by the likes of neuroscientists Richard Davidson and V.S. Ramachandran and scholars such as Shawn Achor — increasingly points to a simple fact: Happy people are better workers. Those who are engaged with their jobs and colleagues work harder — and smarter.” (read more…)

The Future of Work All Week Long

All of these excellent articles are posted through the week with many others on the Future of Work FLIPBOARD. You can view it online or get the app for quick, easy, mind-filling reading.

Employee Engagement By Force or by Freedom?

Employee Engagement By Force or by Freedom?

Eric, a Chick-fil-A manager, obviously had had it.  His employees were using slang and then saying, “My pleasure.” (Which, I find a bit ironic because “My pleasure” is slang itself because it is an incomplete sentence.  It should be “It’s my pleasure.”  But we can overlook that.)

To cut the slang out of the restaurant, he posted a list of words the employees were no longer to say.


Whether this is a bona fide attempt at controlling employee slang or a just a hoax has yet to be determined.

Either way, what it has given us is a great topic of debate.

Resolved: Employers have the right to limit the way employees speak to customers.

Do you take the affirmative or negative position on this one?

On one hand, they work for the Chick-fil-A and are asked to do many things within guidelines or policy which are meant to enhance the success of the restaurant.  On the other hand, is it tyrannical to force them to speak a specific way with specific words?

Cold Hard Reality

When we work for someone else, we will be asked to modify our behavior to match the culture of the company.  From saying, “My pleasure,” to adding a disclaimer at the end of our emails, to meeting etiquette… and the list goes on.

Unless illegal we have two choices: a) conform or b) quit.

They pay the bills and pay the employee.  If someone doesn’t like their culture they need to find employment somewhere else.

We have seen companies or employees in companies act immorally – from borderline sexual harassment to encouraging to fudge the books everso slightly.  While these actions may not be illegal, they may be immoral.

Then again, maybe the company asks employees to do something they don’t want to do.  Like not use slang words.  The employer is completely within their right to ask this of their employees and to discipline if the employees don’t adhere to the policy.

Reality vs. Effectiveness

But the real question is different: “Is the action that the Chick-fil-A manager took the most effective way to get to his goal?” His goal on one level is to stop slang talk. On a deeper level it is to increase employee effectiveness with the customers.  Go a level deeper and it is to increase employee engagement.  Even deeper is a level to increase profits for the stakeholders.

The answer the above question is no, it is not very effective.  Having seen this type of action taken by many managers, what Eric has effectively done is two things: 1) transfer the effect of the problem from slang to an unknown action by the employees that will soon rear its ugly head.  If they can’t do that, they will act out in some other way.  2) He has only multiplied the negative effect.  Now the employees will be even more upset and act out with increased animosity in another way.

Why? Because the root of the problem has not been resolved.  It is easy to gloss over the real issue and put out the flame of the problem-of-the-day.

The First Level Lesson

Take care of the root of the problem and all the ancillary issues go away.

The Second Lesson

If the employees were engaged, if they had skin in the game, if they not only “reported” to one manager but instead to each other, if they understood the consequences of speaking that way to customers, if they cared about the profitability of the restaurant, if they were working as a team not for a paycheck but to create something of meaning, slang would not be a problem.

In the Future of Work, we create an environment to transcend these type of issues. Not that they won’t ever exist (because we are working with humans), but when they do happen, the purpose of the company and the team itself right the wrong instead of coming down like a hammer.

When we create an enabling environment with freedom, the issues we are used to dealing with are righted by the team and employee engagement goes through the roof.

The Future of Work, Best of the Best Posts – November 10

Isn’t it interesting that when we need to get something done, it can get done? Politics, bureaucracy, policy, ego – they all fade into the background as we crank something out.  At this point, it is about doing the right thing.

Last week I had a very large client call and say, “We need to create three videos for a meeting of our executives.  Oh, and they need to be done by next Wednesday.”  Wow.  This is a huge undertaking.  And the stories behind the three videos?  Getting things done using collaborative, innovative, nonconventional ways that cut through the red tape and deliver.  It looks like we are about to create story number four by producing these videos.

So now, it’s heads down, focus time for a number of people to pull this off.  And we will.  And it will be great.

Besides fatigue, why don’t we work like this more? Just get it done?  This is what it will look like in the future of work – so let’s practice now.

This is my challenge for you this week.

Find something that has been stalling and just go get it done.  Cut through the red tape and deliver.  Then go celebrate a work week well lived.


Here are four posts to fuel your imagination.

man-475561_640-300x211Why organizations need self-managed learners – and how you can help

A foundational part of the future of work is self-managed teams.  As you dive into it, you can’t have a self-managed team without self-managed learners.   Jane Hart is a favorite of mine with her spot on analysis of employee performance.

“Today’s workplace needs employees to continually learn for themselves and stay abreast of developments in their field of work – not just through self-study but through a continuous approach to learning, e.g. in their professional networks and other social channels.”


Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.00.16 AMWhat To Do About Employee Moonlighting

This gives a number of concerns to be aware of, focusing on how to ensure their productivity.  But there is a glaring omission: If they are moonlighting, maybe it is because they don’t like their day job. And if they don’t like their job, there is little you can do to squeeze every little bit of productivity out of them.  Instead of watching it closely and being wary of it, I would advocate to embrace it.  Encourage them to moonlight.  Seems backwards?  Yes it does. Maybe I will do a post on this sometime soon to explain why…


5 ways your organization shouldn’t approach social

Another favorite of mine is Oscar Berg.  He knows his stuff.  This post reminds me of my eBook and numerous posts on How to Fail in Social Business.  His post is a great reminder.

“Many organizations see no big change in the existing ways of working after deploying social tools or social collaboration initiatives. Not only has it proven to be quite difficult to make people adopt these tools. It has also proven to be difficult to achieve any significant improvement of business performance.”


Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.01.04 AMOur Obsession With Scalability Must End

Wow.  Saul Kaplan is spot on here.  Our focus on scalability can often hurt us, and we need to redirect our focus.  His last line sealed the deal for me:

“We are still allowing predominant business models to slow down and block the emergence of new business models that can better meet our needs. It’s time to move from the era of the predominant business model to the era of business model proliferation.”

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