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A Thought Leadership Manifesto

12 Ways to Get Cracking as a Thought Leader

This slide deck  is based on an article I wrote on thought leadership in November 2013. It has been updated and infused with images.


David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and thought leader.

12 Title Tidbits from Scaling Up Excellence by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao

Is your organization scaling up or just about to lose its grip?

(Reading time: Under 2 Minutes)

Scaling Up Excellence

Two days after Ground Hog day, Febraury 4th, 2014, we will all have the opportunity to come out of our cubicles and offices and either get blinded by looking up at the sun or get enlightened about scaling up excellence by reading Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao’s, Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less. I believe Bob would tell us to get our head out of whatever and learn to scale excellence. I encourage readers of this blog to determine how they would apply the ideas to scaling up engagement at work.

There are few business authors that I would say that I love their work. Henry Mintzberg, Peter Block, Margaret Wheatley come to mind and I would add Bob Sutton. He had me at asshole with his terrific book, The No Asshole Rule.

I was reading Bob’s blog post on the writing life just before writing this review. He advised writers:

Ask for approval of any title of anything you write.  A lot of publications won’t like that either – but it has your name on it.

The title and subtitles of this book jumped off of the page and into my mind so rather than a review I want to give you 12 titles or subtitles and encourage you to use those to springboard into the book yourself and improve your ability to scale up to excellence:

    1. Getting to more without settling for less
    2. Spread a mindset, not just a footprint
    3. Fear the clusterfug
    4. Do you suffer from delusions of uniqueness?
    5. Going slower to scale faster (and better) later
    6. Will bolstering Buddhism generate crucial understanding, commitment, and innovation?
    7. Hot causes, cool solutions: stoking the scaling engine
    8. Lean on people who can’t leave well enough alone
    9. Bad is stronger than good: Clearing the way for excellence
    10. Did this, not that: Imaging you’ve already succeeded (or failed)
    11. Teach us more, learn less
    12. The seven year conversation

As Robert and Huggy stated in the preface,

uncover pockets of exemplary performance, spread those splendid deeds, and as an organization grows bigger and older – rather than slipping toward mediocrity or worse – recharge it with better ways of doing the work at hand.

Take the 12 title tidbits and scale up excellence by reading the content of these chapters and sections. To learn more about the book and authors, check out the book’s website.

David Zinger Employee Engagement Speaker

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and consultant who refuses to be blinded by looking at the sun and put his head into this book with thoughts for scaling up excellence in employee engagement thanks to Bob and Huggy.


Who said employee engagement and recognition are garbage?

Employee Engagement and Recognition as Trash Talk

Reese's Pieces CIMG5877

A Year of Recognition. I am engaged in a project called a year of recognition to recognize and appreciate others for who they are or what they do. The normal automated garbage pick up in Winnipeg is being done manually right now. The workers are dumping the heavy bins in an old fashioned garbage truck on a day of -33 Celsius. I was going out to thank them when my son Luke said I should give them something. He raced up to his room and got a large Reese’s bar that I took out to them. I hope they were warmed ever so slightly by the thank you and the chocolate bar.

Addendum to this post, here is a message my son sent out after he left the house to go to work, nice to see a young man recognize the importance of recognition. He also snapped a picture as I was out thanking these gentleman for their fine work. Here is the picture and his note:

David Zinger Recognizing the Garbage Men On a Cold January Day

Luke Garbage Reese's Comment

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and co-author of People Artistry at Work: The Ennoblement Imperative.


Employee Engagement on the Back of Your Business Card

What is your little for 2014?

(Reading Time: Under 1 Minute)

The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.  - Jon Kabat-Zinn

Blank Business Card

What is one little thing you can do in 2014 to improve employee engagement for yourself, your organization, or one other person you work with? To ensure that little make a difference attach your small behavior or action to something significant for yourself or the organization. Little does not mean trite or unimportant. Little is a pathway to increasing engagement when we lack extra time, effort, or capacity. To ensure your idea is little make sure you can write it on the back of a business card.

Business Card and Little Goal

Grab one of your business cards and write your little action for engagement. Keep your card in your wallet or on your desk and let it remind you of your “little for 2014.”

David Zinger Picture May 22 2013

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who founded the 6000 member Employee Engagement Network. David believes that small is the new significant in employee engagement.

The Push and Pull of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement involves both push and pull. The push part of engagement is our effort, focus, concentration, and contribution to a specific element or block of engagement. The pull part of engagement is how an element or block engages us or pulls us towards it.

For example, I take 10 minutes to recognize a few people I work with. I am engaging or pushing towards the recognition block of the pyramid of engagement.  The results of this may pull me towards future recognition because of the interactions or comments from the people I recognized.

I am pulled into engagement by a meaningful result I want to create. This draws me towards engagement. For engagement to be powerful we must experience both the push and pull of engagement with results, performance, progress, relationships, recognition, moments, strengths, meaning, well-being, and energy.

See the diagram below for a visual image of this dynamic.

Employee Engagement Push and Pull

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who is both pushed and pulled by all 10 blocks of the pyramid of engagement. If you want to experience more powerful engagement where you work contact David Zinger today.

The Employee Engagement Awards for 2013

First Annual Employee Engagement Awards

 EENetwork Award Logo Large

The 7 Awards Winners – 2013 

From the 6200 Member Employee Engagement Network


Here are the 7 award winners in employee engagement for 2013 as chosen by the Employee Engagement Network. Each winner will receive a certificate, a 2013 Canadian coin prize, and a copy of People Artistry at Work: The Ennoblement Imperative by Peter W. Hart and David Zinger. 

Best Engagement Organization 2013: Engage for Success, UK

This employee engagement movement has spread across the UK to put employee engagement firmly into consciousness and action for a broad spectrum of companies and organizations across the UK. They have created a wonderful site full of resources, research, and current information. David MacLeod and Nita Clarke who lead the charge on engagement received the OBE in late 2013.

Visit:  http://www.engageforsuccess.org/


Best Engagement Book 2013: Catherine Truss, Rick Delbridge, Kerstin Alfes, Amanda Shantz, and Emma Soane (editors) Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice. Publisher – Routledge.

This engagement textbook should be required reading not just for HR students but for all practitioners and people involved in engagement. The editors have compiled an eclectic and informative mix of articles on engagement. The strong academic underpinnings of the book offer the reader research based conclusions and many important questions to consider.

Visit: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415657426/


Best Classic Engagement Book: Richard Axelrod, Terms of Engagement, Publisher – Berrett-Koehler.

Richard Axelrod offers connected ways of leading and changing organizations based on really engaging employees in the process of change through collective dialogue and interaction. This second edition of the book is rich with an engaging approach and fused with practical steps to create change through engaged connections.

Visit: http://www.bkconnection.com/ProdDetails.asp?ID=1576752399


Best Engagement Blog Post 2013: Doug Shaw, We are better together

Doug Shaw writes with passion, art, and presence. He offers a personal and unique voice on engagement and has been spreading his message from the UK and Europe into North America. Doug’s post, We are Better Together, was written in September of 2013. It was an informative and engaging post on connection and creativity supported with additional resources.

Visit: http://bit.ly/1eiHWv3


Best Engagement Video 2013: Leavesmarter, Marshall Goldsmith, Two minutes on the missing element of engagement.

This video is only two minutes in length yet offers a fine perspective from Marshall Goldsmith on the employee role in engagement. Marshall Goldsmith has mojo and offers true gold for our workplace. He approaches his work with authenticity and humility fused with very practical suggestions and approaches.

Visit: http://employeeengagement.ning.com/video/employee-engagement-the-missing-50


Exceptional Engagement Network Contributor 2013: Robert Morris

Robert has been indefatigable in contributing great information on management, leadership, and the workplace. Robert offers the engagement network multiple new posts every week with the most current knowledge from books, blogs, and other management and leadership resources.

Visit: http://employeeengagement.ning.com/profile/RobertMorris.


Special Engagement Recognition Award 2013 – Juice Inc.

Juice made an outstanding contribution to initiating and fostering knowledge partnership for employee engagement. They are the premiere knowledge partner of the employee engagement network and support the ongoing development and growth of the network. Their contributions have ranged from recruiting new members, posting insightful blog posts, offering lightning lessons and creating one a new 50-work engagement case study. Because of Juice’s support the network will be moving forward into being a top education and recognition site for engagement in 2014.

Visit:  http://www.juiceinc.com/


About the Employee Engagement Network

The Employee Engagement Network started 6 years ago in Winnipeg, Canada and has grown to over 6200 members around the globe. Resources on the network included a dozen free eBooks on engagement, five case studies, 580 videos, 4000 blog posts, 600 forums, and a brand new cartoon on work each week. To engage means to keep moving. The network will be shifting in 2014 to a stronger education and recognition resource for all things involving employee and work engagement.

Visit: http://employeeengagement.ning.com/


David Zinger is a Canadian employee engagement speaker and expert. He founded and hosts the 6200 member Employee Engagement Network. In 2014, the plan is to move the network to a strong source of recognition for engagement and contribution at work as well as a socio-educational resource for everyone interested in engagement.

Do You Agree That Authentic Employee Engagement Requires That Leaders Level?

Replace a pyramid of people with a pyramid of behaviors and actions

Pyramid Model of Employee Engagement

Most of us would agree that it is important for leadership and executives to be engaged at work and that executives can set a tone throughout the organization. Unfortunately our way of thinking about roles at work and the way some of us lead thwart engagement. Here are 3 phrases from a recent post on executive engagement by a well known engagement consultancy:

In any company, engagement comes from the top.

This is the only way to drive and sustain engagement throughout the organization because engagement at the top cascades down the line.

Everything executives do has an effect on the people beside them and below them.

Yikes. When we think of people being on top of others or that other employees are below executives I believe this very conception thwarts much engagement. We must begin to see ourselves on the same level as everyone we work with. Our ancient pyramid conception of employee roles is antiquated and counterproductive to engagement. Remember, pyramids were built to house dead people.

No top, no bottom, no above, no below. Yes, employees have different roles and functions but lets all get on the same level and engage for the benefit of all.

Do you believe leaders must level?

David Zinger Canadian Employee Engagement Speaker

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who resides on the Canadian prairies. Being a flat lander he believe we must level with everyone we work with. He has created a pyramid of engagement based on functions and behaviors not people and roles.

Employee Engagement: This is Good Work

Tom Peter’s recently wrote about good work.


I appreciated Tom Peter’s points:

Good work: Help others grow. Infectious enthusiasm. Always approachable. A ready smile. Keeping promises. Learning. Learning. Learning.

Good work: Most of our conscious life will be at work. Like it or not. Waste your work life and you have wasted your life.

Good work: The quality of the experience of producing the product is as important as the product itself.

I love good work and think we need to rethink all this blathering hype about doing great work. Good is good enough.

As Garrison Keillor states, “Be well. Do good work. Keep in touch.”

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who celebrates good work.

Deciphering 39 Powerful Lessons from an Employee Engagement Textbook

39 Lessons from Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice (Part 1 of 5)

Reading time: 4 minutes

Employee engagement in theory and practice by Truss et. al.

Routledge publishing released a new employee engagement textbook, Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice edited by Catherine Truss, Rick Delbridge, Kerstin Alfes, Amanda Shantz and Emma Soane.  The range of contributors include  Wilmar B. Schaufeli, Arnold B. Bakker, and William A. Kahn, the founding father of the concept of engagement. These are just 3 of the many authors on engagement that I admire who wrote contributions for the book. I think this is a very good resource book for employee engagement and an excellent textbook for a course on employee engagement.

The book is divided into four parts:

  1. The psychology of engagement
  2. Employee engagement: the HRM implication
  3. Employee engagement: critical perspectives
  4. Employee engagement in practice

I taught Educational Psychology and Counselling Psychology at the University of Manitoba for 20 years and this predisposed me to see this book as a course, the contents as lessons, and to study rather than merely read the book. I also very much appreciate the caution exercised by academic writers and the continual referencing to other researchers and writers. I have not taught at university for over 7 years and if I was to return I would teach a course on employee engagement and this would be my choice of textbook.

Here is a statement I made about my experience studying the book in 12 secrets of being a thought leader on employee engagement:

You can never know enough, or retain enough, to stop being a student. I am enthralled by learning and learn from everyone I encounter. I default on being a student. I study rather than read. Currently, I am studying, Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice. I can’t help myself as I make notes and draw little diagrams in the margin, I argue with certain statements and put giant check marks beside other statement, and the white pages of the book are streaked with contrails of yellow highlighter.

I will be writing a five part series on the book stretching into the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. Although I am the founder and host of the 6100 member Employee Engagement Network I decided to use the book to journey again through the fundamentals of engagement and distill relevant and vital lessons. To this end, each of my posts will focus on one of the four parts of the book and will be structured around 9 lessons from each part with an additional 3 lessons to begin for the total of 39 lessons.

This specific post touches upon the introduction to the book and offers 3 lessons.  Each lesson will be composed of one sentence and a brief elaboration and questions following the lesson. The lessons are more illustrative than comprehensive and more idiosyncratic than exhaustive. I will focus on what stood our for me in each section. I assume that you would have a mix of similar and different lessons from your own reading of the textbook based on your background and current involvement in engagement. I encourage you to buy the book, study along with me, and let me know the lessons that stand out for you.

The first 3 lessons:

 1. Question the promise of engagement. On page one of the introduction the editors state:  perhaps the reason that engagement has garnered so much attention lies in its dual promise of enhancing both individual well-being and organizational performance.  I like the idea of engagement as a promise but it also leads to a number of questions we can use to reflect upon our approach to engagement. Do you see engagement as a promise? Are you keeping your promise? In what ways has the promise been broken? Do you share an equivalent focus on individual well-being and organizational performance? How do we use employee engagement to move effectively into the trade-offs and tensions between employers and employees? I trust as we move rapidly towards 2020 that both individuals and organizations will see engagement as a promise worth keeping. The tag line of the Employee Engagement Network is “employee engagement for all.” If employee engagement is truly to be for all the promises must be kept and lived for the benefit of the individual and the organization.

2. Be thoughtful and deliberate in the words you choose to describe engagement. What is the phrase or phrases you are using for employee engagement? We need to pay special attention to the words or phrases we use around engagement. The introduction mentions ‘work engagement, ‘personal engagement’, ‘job engagement’, ‘staff engagement’, employee engagement’ and ‘engagement’. I prefer the word engagement and the phrase work engagement but tend to use employee engagement because of its wide usage and acceptance. As I move fully into 2014 I will be using the word engagement and the phrase work engagement more frequently than employee engagement. I would love to see a much wider acceptance and usage of the phrase work engagement in place of employee engagement.

3. We must develop a better and more complete understanding of engagement because it is a significant and growing factor in work and the management of people. The breadth and depth of this book attest of the third lesson. This lesson sets the stage for the next 36 lessons on engagement psychology, practice, criticism, and ties to human resource management (HRM). In the words of the editors this book raises “awareness of the rich potential of the engagement subject area for practitioners and academics alike.”

Next post in this series: The psychology of engagement 

David Zinger Employe Engagement Coach - King

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert currently working on a 12 module course on employee engagement based on his 10 block  pyramid of engagement.

10 Building Blocks: What is Your Deeper Why of Employee Engagement?

The why of working.

the Pyramid Model of Employee Engagement Square

Here are four stories that influenced my movement into employee engagement:

My father, a railway executive, became cynical and frustrated with his work. It literally drove him to drink and as a child I would listen to his workplace stories of being thwarted and stymied. I was pleased that later in his life he found his way out of this work-related Dante’s Inferno.

Burt, a production technician I worked with hated his job, management, the company and his co-workers. He lived to retire. Nine months after retiring he hated retirement.

Marla the administrative support person in my department felt misery at work that manifested itself as sourness and belligerence. She sucked the energy out of the department and I usually took the back stairs so I would not have to pass by her desk.

The railway gang I worked with did as as little work as possible. The organization and management was perceived as the enemy and most of this gang lived lives of quiet desperation. Our gang was called the perishable gang because we looked after perishable commodities shipped by rail. I believe had I stayed on this gang that I might have been the one to perish from work.

These are four small glimpses at work. It requires no creativity to go beyond these personal stories to identify the negative impact on results, organizations, customers, and families. There is a better way of work and this means engaging fully with our work.

The Why of Engagement: Work is an invitation, accept it. When you get more into your work you will get more out of your work. Good work is a pathway to achieve results, make contributions, build relationships, strengthen organizations, and help others. Good work will make you well.

The How of Engagement: Increasing and enhancing engagement asks us to use small, simple, strong, significant, strategic, and sustainable tools, actions, and practices. We don’t need to do great work or reach for the moon. Rather if we stay grounded in the work in front of us, the injection of a few small steps done daily will be giant steps for our organizations and the people we serve.

The What of Engagement: The Zinger Pyramid of Engagement is a practical and tactical 10-block evidenced based model designed to improve: results, performance, progress, relationships, recognition, moments, strengths, meaning, wellbeing, and energy. I offer keynotes, speeches, classes, workshops, courses, books, writing, consulting, and coaching to help others discover and act upon the 10 building blocks of engagement and good work. Ultimately good work and full engagement involves just a few steps and it is never more than 10 blocks away.

What is your deeper why, how, and what of working and engagement?

David Zinger Employee Engagement Speaker 2

David Zinger is global employee engagement speaker from Canada working at getting work working for all of us. If you are ready to work with the building blocks of engagement, to ensure that work is for the benefit of all, contact him today to get things started.

Learn 12 Secrets to Becoming a Thought Leader

Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am.

(Reading Time: 5 Minutes)

David Zinger Cartoon Smaller Version

Learn how to be a thought leader from David Zinger’s employee engagement thought leadership. Do you want to be a thought leader? This post outlines a quirky 12 step process to thought leadership.

What’s in a name? I have been referred to as a thought leader in employee engagement and was conferred engagement Guru status by the UK’s Engage for Success movement. I never knew that a business and workplace movement in the UK could confer guru status. I believe that if you think you are a thought leader or a guru in all likelihood you are neither of these things. I don’t think I am a thought leader, just a fifty-nine year old guy living on the Canadian prairies in Winnipeg who developed an abiding passion for the various permutations and combinations of engagement in leadership, management, work, and living.

Here are 12 idiosyncratic steps if you are interested in being thought of as a though leader:

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

Develop a mild to medium obsession with a topic.  I admit that I am obsessed with engagement and what it means. I can’t resist reading a book or blog about engagement. I check tweets on engagement about five times a day. I think about engagement all the time.  Psychologists suggest we have about two thousand 14-second daydreams each day. A fair number of my daydreams involve engagement.

Be willing to go anywhere to learn about your specialty. I have gone from military bases in Winnipeg to distilleries in Manitoba to learn about engagement. I have walked the tunnels of uranium mines in Northern Saskatchewan and spent time scurrying though a platinum smelter in South Africa in search of engagement. I got a real buzz of engagement by using computers over three summers to interact with honeybees in their hives to learn about social engagement. If you want to buzz off for a few moments click on the title of my free eBook: Waggle: 39 Ways to Improve Human Organizations, Work, and Engagement. Thought leaders need to go anywhere to learn from anyone (even another species) about engagement.

Your best thoughts always begin with ignorance. Everything I have learned about engagement has come from my ignorance. To me, ignorance simply means not knowing. Stupidity is thinking you know when you don’t. It is okay to be ignorant just don’t be stupid about it. Just because we start with ignorance doesn’t mean that we stay there.

You are only half right but don’t let your brains fall out. I believe that half of what I say is right on, evidence-based, and state of the art while half of what I say is wrong. The conundrum  is that I don’t know the difference. Concepts, ideas, and practices need to be played out and what works for one person, team, or organization may not work for another. Jacob Needleman, the philosopher offered the following advice, “it’s good to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.”

It is more important to write than be right.  E. M. Forester once wrote, “how do I know what I think until I see what I write.” Writing has proven to be a good way to think. I have written over 2500 blog posts, 3 books, and 10000 tweets. I read to learn but I also write to learn. A thought leader can seldom go wrong by writing.

You can think on our own but you are never alone. Thought leadership does not exist in isolation or a vacuum. I founded and host a 6100 member community on employee engagement.  I have devoted countless hours over the past 6 years to this community and it has been worth every second. We are now firmly embedded in the era of social thinking supplanting solo thinking.

You can never know enough, or retain enough, to stop being a student. I am enthralled by learning and learn from everyone I encounter. I default on being a student. I study rather than read. Currently, I am studying, Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice. I can’t help myself as I make notes and draw little diagrams in the margin, I argue with certain statements and put giant check marks beside other statement, and the white pages of the book are streaked with contrails of yellow highlighter.

the Pyramid Model of Employee Engagement Square

Build a pyramid so that your thoughts will outlast you. I never intended to build a pyramid but I ended up building a 10 block pyramid of  engagement. I am a visual thinker and created images for the key elements of engagement. Before I knew it the blocks took the shape of a pyramid. Partially as a tribute to the great UCLA’s basketball coach John Wooden’s pyramid of success and partially because the pyramid structure created a strong, almost intuitive, visual representation of the tactical and practical requirements of full engagement. It may be premature to declare this but I believe the pyramid of engagement may be my magnum opus, or it could be the manifestation of regression to when I was three years old and  totally engaged in playing with wooden alphabet blocks.

Embrace contradictions and change your mind.  My mind has been changed often in engagement. I have more questions than answers. My thoughts lead me more than I lead my thoughts. I have always loved the line by Walt Whitman at the start of these 12 steps: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

To find enlightenment be a lamp. A much wiser one than I, the  Buddha, said “be a lamp unto yourself.” We must shine a light on own thinking and approaches. We can go around the globe in search of engagement and fail to realize that it resides in our own hands, head, and heart.

Waggle while you work. My honeybees taught me to waggle. Waggles are their dance-like movements to communicate with their community about sources of pollen and even the location of a new home. I trust my thoughts will help others find and nourish their own engagement work. I place countless links in my tweets and updates on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds.

Think, pray, laugh. I have kept everything in perspective by following the Chinese beatitude: Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, they shall never cease to be entertained. I also maintain my serenity with the modified serenity prayer I learned about 30 years ago: God grant me the laughter to see the past with perspective, face the future with hope, and celebrate today without taking myself too seriously. Thought leaders who laugh, last. Enjoy Assorted Zingers: Poems and Cartoons to Take a Bite Out of Work.

Alfred Adler was a thought leader for psychological thinking. He didn’t follow Sigmund Freud’s path or someone else’s path, he created his own. Supposedly after presenting his latest theories and thinking on psychology in front of very large audiences he would conclude his presentation with this statement of heartfelt uncertainty, “things could also be quite otherwise.” As we journey forward in engagement towards 2020, let’s never forget that, things could also be quite otherwise.

The map is not the territory. ~ Alfred Korzybski

David Zinger Employee Engagement Speaker

David Zinger has been led around by his thoughts on employee engagement for the past 7 years. He is an employee engagement speaker from the Canadian prairies who believes we must be on the same level with everyone else and that pyramids are for blocks not for people.

Do you believe forced performance rankings are detrimental to employee engagement?

Would you rather work for Yahoo or Microsoft? 

Forced Rankings


Two articles written on the same day examine the road to forced rankings (Yahoo) and away from forced ranking (Microsoft).

At Yahoo:

Several months after the great work-at-home kerfuffle of 2013, Yahoo employees were up in arms about a new policy that forces managers to rank employees on a bell curve, then fire those at the low end. According to AllThingsD, Marissa Mayer reportedly told Yahoo workers that the rankings weren’t mandatory, but many people disagree. (Business Week November 12)

At Microsoft - Microsoft’s HR chief Lisa Brummel wrote a letter about the end of both ranking and ratings:

No more curve. We will continue to invest in a generous rewards budget, but there will no longer be a pre-determined targeted distribution.  Managers and leaders will have flexibility to allocate rewards in the manner that best reflects the performance of their teams and individuals, as long as they stay within their compensation budget. (The Verge November 12)

These are uncertain times for performance and engagement. It is interesting to see us go in both directions at once. Where do you stand on the role of ratings and rankings for performance management and what do you believe would be best for employee engagement? Would you rather work for Yahoo or Microsoft?

David Zinger Employee Engagement Speaker

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who does not like to be forced to do anything but always tries to perform at his best!

The 6S’s of Employee Engagement Actions

A Simple Guide to Employee Engagement Actions

Zinger Employee Engagement 6's for Action

I am currently creating a 12 module action-based course on engagement. It will help you with over 40 practical and tactical actions you can enact to increase and improve employee engagement for yourself or others at work. Below is a page on the 6′s of employee engagement actions from Module 1.

The 6 S’s acronym offers simple guidelines to determine, enact, and assess ideal actions to improve engagement as you apply the content and tools of the course.

Small – Small is the new significant. Steer clear of huge programs that are additive and overtax an already overloaded workforce.

Simple – Keep actions simple. We often race to find complex answers to big problems when simple things done daily may be the lever small enough to fully engage the organization.

Strong – Although the action can be small and simple strive to ensure it is powerful and robust.

Significant – The action should be significant, meaningful, and matter.

Strategic – The action should align and contribute to the overall strategy of the organization.

Sustainable – The action should be sustainable over time — accomplished by making the action small, simple, strong, significant, and strategic.

David Zinger Canadian Employee Engagement Speaker

David Zinger is a Canadian and global employee engagement speaker. He is currently creating a powerful 12 module course on employee engagement. If you want to improve engagement where you work by getting involved with the course contact him today at: david@davidzinger.com

Are You Going Mobile with Employee Engagement?

Hold the Phone by David Zinger

Employee Engagement Model Zinger 2011

Are you going mobile with employee engagement. Smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices are very engaging for users and we would be negligent not to use them fully as we work to enhance and increase employee engagement. Here is a snippet from the Times News Network that I read in Delhi earlier this year.

By the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth and by 2017 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices as against every human.

David Zinger is a Canadian based global employee engagement speaker and expert who believes it will be smart to make good use of smart phones and all the other mobile devices for engagement.

Employee Engagement and Video

Here is a recording of a recent webinar I did on employee engagement and video with MediaPlatform Inc. It was a nice fusion of video and the 10 block of the pyramid of employee engagement.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert currently transforming the pyramid of employee engagement into a 12 module course. Contact David today if you would like to learn more about the course. Email: david@davidzinger.com

Employee Engagement: You are Needed

You are needed

I was at a social event with my next door neighbor, Tico Cornejo. Tico owns The Winehouse in Winnipeg. He shared a story about when he was younger one of his bosses wanted him to work overtime. Tico had to go to the doctor late in the day and his boss wanted Tico to return to work for some overtime. Rather than demanding overtime or making an expectation of it his boss said, “we would love to have you here after your appointment.” Tico wrote me after our conversation and added: “over and above the feeling of being needed, the “we” made it a “team effort” not just a personal request.” It is powerful and engaging to know that your boss and your workplace needs you.

Tico also talked about his daughter’s job and how much she enjoyed her work and how engaged she found her work. In talking about her engagement, Tico boldly stated, “It is so powerful to know you are needed!” In this case his daughter was needed by all the clients she worked with.

We can be needed by our boss, by our clients and customers, and by our organization. Do you know you are needed at your work? If you are a manager, do you fully let your staff know how much you need them?

We can get both convoluted and complicated with the strategies we concoct for organizations to improve employee engagement. Perhaps we are just making it all too damn complicated. Let’s not lose sight of Tico’s dictum: Ensure employees know they are needed.

David Zinger is a global employee engagement expert who loves learning about engagement from someone right next door. David is on Google+

Employee Engagement is not working even though it is about working

Engage: Go small, be good.


Large scale programs, endless competencies, and 22 drivers of engagement are not the solution to our dis-ease with work and our chronic disengagement. Employees and organizations are weary of being cajoled and counseled to be great. We need to restore the sanity at work, the caring for what we do, and the connection we have with one another as we do good work.

Even with the most optimistic assessments we have seen minimal improvement in employee engagement over the past 10 years.  Everybody is talking about employee engagement but what are they really doing about it. Leadership is befuddled when they receive endless results from the 120 item bi-annual survey. Managers, already busy with 15 other priorities, are being tasked with engagement as they go from doing more with less to doing everything with nothing. Survey consultancies construct fancy PowerPoint presentations with fifty recommendations the organization tries to sink their teeth into while employees are wondering, “where’s the beef?”

Seventy to eighty percent of our projects in organizations fail to deliver the results we hoped for. We are taxing our resources, stressing our people, and our engagement initiatives are sowing the seeds of disengagement.

There is a better way to engage : Go Small, Be Good

Here is my current Employee Engagement Equation:

Employee engagement = Small Steps + Good work.

Small is the new significant while good is the new great.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex…It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.  ~ E. F. Schumacher

It is counter intuitive but big results in employee engagement will come from being small, simple, strong, sustainable, and significant.  Engagement is not an attitude or a survey score it is the small actions and behaviors we exhibit each day at work. The Dalai Lama stated, if you think small is not significant try sleeping in a tent with a mosquito.

Employee engagement must be integrated into the fabric of work rather than heaped on as an extra. Great work and great workplaces are a cute conceptual  ideal but I prefer the sustainable heartiness of good work done daily. Most of the rare great performance and great work that I know came from sustained effort over long periods of time. We need to do the best we can, with what we’ve got, wherever we are. As John Wooden, the fantastic UCLA basketball coach said, “don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Good is not the enemy of great, good is the only pathway there is when great occasionally occurs. Although some believe that our reach should exceed our grasp I think we should have a good grasp of our work and hang on to it everyday. Drop the concept of engagement and embrace the verb of engage.

David Zinger Pyramid of Employe Engagement Model Course Page

David Zinger is fully engaged in creating a 12 module course on the tactical and practical actions of employee engagement based on his eclectic pyramid of engagement. This will will be an excellent independent study course, speech, workshop, or training session. If you are interested in learning more about the course that will be ready early in 2014, email David today at david@davidzinger.com.

The We in Employee Engagement

by David Zinger: david@davidzinger.com 

Employee Engagement Social Media

Peter Drucker on we:

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.
― Peter F. Drucker

Take your “I” out of employee engagement and install the we as organizations morph into authentic communities.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and the founder and host of the 6100 member global Employee Engagement Network.