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Archives for January 2008

How cool is your work?

In Winnipeg today, employees are engaged!

snow man

Every so often we see the headlines.

  • Canadian workers are not engaged.
  • Low levels of engagement.
  • What happened to commitment in the workplace?
  • A new generation of slackers.

Here is the temperature at 9:00 AM CST Wednesday 30 January 2008

  • Condition: Sunny  Temperature: -31.1°C  Wind Chill: -45°C or -49 Fahrenheit

Here is Environment Canada’s Windchill Guidelines for  -40 to -47

  1. High risk: exposed skin can freeze in 5 to 10 minutes
  2. Check face and extremities (fingers, toes, ears and nose) for numbness or whiteness (frostbite)
  3. Risk of hypothermia if outside for long periods without adequate protection

If you are an employee in Winnipeg who went to work today you are ENGAGED.

By the way, as far as I can tell, everyone showed up. 

David Zinger

Join the Employee Engagement Network Today

Monday Morning Percolator #42

Join now to be a founding memeber. Monday 7 a.m. update: The network is less than 2 days old, we already have 7 members (make that 8 just as I was writing this) and many of them are leading experts on employee engagement, work, and leadership. I encourage you to be one of our founding members. You don’t need to be an expert or a blogger. You are an ideal memeber if you are interested in the topic, you want to learn more, or you want to enhance your own engagement.

I am extremely excited and enthusiastic to announce the launch of the Employee Engagement Network. I set up the network on January 26th., 2008.

Click here to visit the network. I have always believed that authentic employee engagement is based on connection and I have been reaching out to others involved in employee engagement to learn from them and to offer assistance.

It is very thrilling to now have a network that all of us involved in employee engagement can interact with each other at our own levels of comfort. We can share resources, offer perspectives, find speakers or presenters, learn about new authors, get practical advice, bring new tools to our organizations, and enhance our own levels of engagement.

Don’t just visit the network…JOIN! You do this by clicking on the SIGN UP link on the top right hand corner of the home page.

There is no charge and we need you. We need your questions, your contributions, and your engaging conversations. You get what you give and you will find that you will get a lot of value from our network.

I have just begun to extend some initial invitations and I look forward to people recognizing the value of this network, wanting to be a part of it, and joining in.

Engage along with me, the best is yet to be!

Visit Employee Engagement

David Zinger



If you want to engage employees don’t just read this, do this.

How do you get people on board with employee engagement? How do you promote change in the age of choice?

Read the following snippet on leadership and change from Margaret Wheatley, one of the foremost leadership experts:

We never succeed in directing or telling people how they must change. We don’t succeed by handing them a plan, or pestering them with our interpretations, or relentlessly pressing forward with our agenda, believing that volume and intensity will convince them to see it our way. You can scream and holler as much as you want, but if people don’t regard what you’re saying as important, they’ll just ignore you and go on with their own life. (In this way, all people behave like teenagers.)


Wheatley then goes on to add:

It is impossible to impose anything on people. We must participate in anything that affects us. We can’t act on behalf of anyone, we can’t figure out what’s best for somebody else. If leaders or task forces refuse to believe this and go ahead and make plans for us, we don’t sit by passively and do what we’re told. We still get involved, but from the sidelines, where we’ve been told to sit and wait. We get involved by ignoring, resisting, or sabotaging all plans and directives that are imposed on us.

From Margaret J. Wheatley, Finding Our Way, p 105.

If you are involved in employee engagement initiatives I recommend you read this about 4 times, print it out, underline it and learn the lessons if you want to create authentic employee engagement with results that matter for all.

Photo Credit: Waiting on the World to Change by

David Zinger, M.Ed.

Employee Engagement Expert

ZENgagement: From you to me to us.

Sometimes I get angry when I hear leaders or managers talk about employee engagement as something for employees or “those people” while neglecting or forgetting that they are employees too!

When we are divided or disconnected how can we expect anything different than disengagement.

city squash

To be humble is not to make comparsions. Secure in its reality, the self is neither better nor worse, bigger nor smaller, than anything else in the universe. It is nothing, yet at the same time one with everything. ~Dag Hammarskjöld

Photo Credit: this city will squash you by

David Zinger

Michael Stallard on Employee Engagement (MMP #41)

 Monday Morning Percolator #41

It is an honor today to host an interview with Michael Stallard. Michael in conjunction with Carolyn Dewing-Hommes and Jason Pankau wrote, Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity, and Productivity.


I have to admit that the cover and title did not grab my attention but when I started the book, I could not stop and was enthralled by the focus on connection, creating an environment where people feel connected to one another, to their work, and to the larger mission of the organization.

Michael, thank you for agreeing to this interview about employee engagement and your book, Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity, and Productivity.

Q: Can you share with the readers why you decided to write this book at this time?

A: I discovered something that I thought would be valuable to everyone who works in organizations.  It all began when I was chief marketing officer for the private wealth management group at Morgan Stanley.  During that time, I was interested in motivating the team I led and in improving the client experience by firing up people on the front lines who worked directly with clients.  I knew that culture mattered.  As a former investment banker, I had observed great and not so great company cultures.  My experiences and research led me to believe that the only culture that produces sustainable superior performance is a “Connection Culture” in which people feel connected to their work, their colleagues and their organization.
Q: When I picked up the book I thought it was going to be full of motivational platitudes and team trick’s for leaders. It wasn’t that at all. It was about authentic and genuine connection to others, our work, and our organization. What does connection mean to you Michael?

A: Connections are part rational and part emotional. It’s the emotional aspect that’s so powerful.  When people feel connected, it’s extraordinary what they can accomplish together. All great leaders create Connection Cultures.  In Fired Up or Burned Out, we tell the stories of some of these leaders of nations, businesses, sports teams and social sector organizations. We also include a few stories of people who did not lead well so readers can learn from their examples as well
Q: Can you give us an example of someone who really connected with you at work and made a difference?

A: John Straus, former head of the private wealth management group and my first boss at Morgan Stanley, was great at connecting with me and I in turn felt a strong bond with my management team colleagues and with the people in the marketing department I was responsible for leading.  John gave me the authority, resources and autonomy necessary to get the job done.  We had a strong Connection Culture, it fired us up and as a result we doubled Morgan Stanley’s private wealth management business over a two and a half year period. 
Q: Who are you working at connecting with currently?

A: First of all, I’m always mindful of staying connected with my family members and friends.  I meet each Saturday morning for breakfast with a group of good friends.  I also meet most Wednesdays with a different group of guys for lunch.  Being around these friends energizes, challenges and encourages me.   I’m also actively connecting with people at our client companies and the non-profit organizations I’m involved in.  Because I’m an “achievaholic,” I wasn’t intentional about connecting with people in the past. I had deadlines to meett and deals to close. Now I am intentional about connecting and it’s made me happier and more satisfied with my life as well as more creative and more productive. 
Q: Your book is full of powerful stories, experiences, and examples. What do you most hope the reader takes away from this book you wrote with Carolyn Dewing-Hommes and Jason Pankau?

A: We want people to understand the tremendous effect connection can have, individually and for the organization, and become intentional about connecting with co-workers, family and friends.  I believe that achievaholism is widespread today and it’s sucking the life out of people.  We need to connect with other human beings and when we don’t, there is a price to be paid.  Absent connections, our physical and mental health suffer.  With abundant connections, we thrive.  Life at work can be as satisfying as life outside of work if we create Connection Cultures. 
Q: Can you explain what you mean by Knowledge Flow in the book?

A: Knowledge Flow is one of the key elements of a Connection Culture.  It exists when people freely share information, ideas and opinions.  In cultures with a high degree of Knowledge Flow, people feel their opinions are sought and considered.  They feel valued and more engaged because of this.  A high degree of Knowledge Flow also creates a robust marketplace of ideas that fuels innovation and helps decision makers become better informed and therefore make superior decisions.
Q: In Part 4 of the book you profile 20 great leaders from a variety of times and settings. Can you mention one leader from this section and one thing you learned by studying that leader?

A: This may surprise you but I think Warren Buffett is a great leader although most people don’t think of him in that way.  When you study him closely and meet him, as I have, you see that he embodies a passion for excellence in business and he cares for people.  It’s this combination in a leader that brings about both task excellence and relationship excellence in organizational cultures.  Buffett is confident but not at all egotistical.  He is driven to build something great rather than be the center of attention.  Of course, he gets a lot of attention but he doesn’t seem to seek it.  His passion is building Berkshire Hathaway and doing so in a way that’s fair, honest and good for society at large.     
Q: Michael, you are very open about what you learned at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City in 2004 as your wife went through cancer treatment. How did that influence your views of work and how is your wife, Katie, today?

A: My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2002 and advanced ovarian cancer in 2004.  Today, she is in remission and feeling fine.  The Connection Culture we experienced at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City made us feel that we were more than just a number.  The doctors and staff cared for us and we could see they cared for each other and for their cause, which is “to provide the best cancer care, anywhere.”  The place had a great buzz of positive energy and it’s one of the leading cancer centers in the world.  Watching them opened my eyes to the power of connection.  Furthermore, the extraordinary support we received from friends and family members was enlightening to me. just published the story I wrote about it entitled “Alone No Longer.”  It was a life-changing event for me that led me to dedicate my life to increasing connection in the workplace and in society. 

Thank you Michael.


I encourage readers of Employee Engagement to buy this book and get connected!
If you would like more information about Micheal book or company visit:

David Zinger

Employee Engagement Chronicle #11

This is the first test of a revamped employee engagement chronicle. It will make use of social bookmarking and notes to present the latest information in employee engagement.

Talking about Employee Engagement

The Cranky Middle Manager 128 Slacker Manager David Zinger

I was interviewed by Wayne on the Cranky Middle Manager Podcast. If you want to listen click on the title above this sentence to go to Wayne’s site and click on the play button. (MP3 12.8MB 26:35 Min)

Here are some notes Wayne put together:

0:00 Welcome to the show. You’ll know quickly enough if this is the right place for you to be. We dedicate this episode to Eris… the Goddess of Strife. Wish I’d known about her when I was giving my last boss her nickname……..

3:50 The quote of the week is from Lao Tzu…. why do we care what others think? Because we do….. this one is for me.

4:30 Welcome David Zinger from his own site as well as The Slacker Manager (full disclosure, they named me slacker of the month or something… I think it’s meant as an honor). He tells us a little about how he and Phil Gerbyshak came to run the joint.

8:00 What are the things his readers are most concerned about? Time management, of course, work life balance and dealing with tough employees. It’s hard sometimes to have a new take on things…that’s why he ( and we for that matter) bring in as many voices and perspectives as they can. The latest cycle is employee engagement… why does it matter and why should I stay the course?

13:50 What are some of the things companies do that dis-engage their employees from customers? The wrong program will do that… NOTE: Not everyone loves FISH! But what does connect people? Well, the single biggest connection is the human connection, which is you and me. Check out Jane Dutton’s research….

20:00 Some people are easier to energize- and stay energized by- than others to be sure. People’s engagement ebbs and flows naturally enough.

Thanks for the interview Wayne, your show is always worth a listen!

Do you hear the music at work?

Employee Engagement Extra:

I saw this video posted at It was a commercial but showed an office group engaged in making music. The results of their engagement in this endeavour may not matter for organizational profit but if they can work like this together on the projects that do make a difference, what a difference it will make.

HP Office Orchestra – video powered by Metacafe

Don’t Go There!



I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism,

and what we’re lead to is a life not fully lived.

Cynicism is fear,

and it’s worse than fear –

it’s active disengagement.

~ Ken Burns

Photo Credit: Closed by

Multiple Pathways to Employee Engagement: MMP#40

Employee Engagement: The Monday Morning Percolator #40

There is no way to employee engagement,

employee engagement is the way.

fork in road

The above statement is a rewrite of Zen monk, Thich Nhat Hahn’s, dictum: There is no way to peace, peace is the way.

The opening statement about employee engagement is a central theme of this website. Three times a week you will encounter an eclectic collection of articles on employee engagement. You will read a plethora of perspectives on engagement, from strength based leadership to ZENgagement.

There are many possible forks in the road on the multiple pathways to engagement – I am not trying to confound or confuse you. I want to acknowledge the complexity of employee engagement and honor the many paths to employee engagement.

Last week the Gallup Management Journal published an article with this exact title by Jennifer Robison, Many Paths to Engagement. I have utmost respect for Gallup’s extensive work on employee engagement and I was very pleased to see the parallel nature of our perspectives.

Jennifer began her article with a reference to Buddhist philosophy:

Some Buddhists believe that there are many paths to enlightenment, as many paths as there are seekers. Business philosophy, however, considers that idea problematic. Business leaders don’t want many paths to enlightenment, or in their case, to business results like employee engagement and the benefits it brings. They want one simple, straight, predictable path. When it comes to employee engagement, though, Buddhist thought is probably closer to the truth. There isn’t a perfect path to engagement, a single route that passes from manager to employee to performance to productivity to profit. There are as many effective ways to manage people to attain high performance as there are great managers…

Click here to read the article on how very different management and leadership styles can achieve high levels of employee engagement at Mars, Inc.

Here is part of the conclusion of the article:

So after all that number crunching, behavioral analysis, systematic examination, and simple questioning, Schulte (from Mars Inc.) found the key to great management — great managers. The path to enlightenment, or rather, engagement, ends where it begins.

What does this mean for employee engagement leaders. 

  • We need to understand the complexity of employee engagement.

  • We need to understand our own strengths and styles. 

  • We need to fully understand the people we lead.

  • We must give up the pursuit of a simple one-size-fits-all answer to employee engagement.

  • We must get on the path and be prepared to change paths.

  • We must know in our hearts: there is no way to employee engagement, employee engagement is the way.

Photo Credit: Cliché by

David Zinger writes about the plethora of pathways to employee engagement.

The Employee Engagement Chronicle #10

David Zinger is a leading expert on employee engagement.

David Zinger’s Employee Engagement Chronicle is your primary source for current news, views, reviews, and research on employee engagement. Each entry includes a link to an article or post with a short verbatim tidbit from the article. If you are intrigued, click on the author or source name at the start of each summary to study the full article.

The Chronicle begins with a key point from each of the sources listed:

Get The Point:

  • Servant leadership is a powerful stance to care for both employees and their engagement.
  • The pathway to passionate engaged customers is through fully engaged employees.
  • Let’s really talk about employee engagement instead or pretending not to hear the fighting.

Performance – Managers must take care of their employees by Philip Mydlach pairs employee engagement with servant leadership:

Servant leaders tend to be very effective in today’s work world because they place a high importance on making sure the needs of their team members are being met. This is not to imply that the servant leader is not entirely focused on meeting the performance goals of the organization. The servant-leader simply understands that a happy team leads to employee engagement, retention and sustainable high performance over time. Simple concept isn’t it? Servant leadership is…More than anything, servant leadership is an attitude that says I am here to serve you, and to assist you in your personal growth and development in support of achieving the organization’s growth goals.

Capturing Hearts and Minds at Human Resources Executive Online outlines some of Gallup’s Human Sigma work.

The answer is employee engagement or the ability to capture the heads, hearts, and souls of your employees to instill an intrinsic desire and passion for excellence. Engaged employees want their organization to succeed because they feel connected emotionally, socially, and even spiritually to its mission, vision, and purpose… More importantly, it’s hard to create passionate, engaged customers without passionate, engaged employees.

Three BC Christmas Wishes by Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson. Yvonne, writing in the Jamaica Observer, wrote about the importance of planned and powerful organizational communications. I loved her statements about communication and employee engagement:

In doing any analysis of ROI, executives should recognise that employees are their company’s chief ambassadors. They spread the word about you, your products or services no matter what your colourful and costly advertisements shout to the public. Furthermore, are your employees engaged? Are they plugged into what it is they are being paid to do or are they just going through the days, longing for Friday to come?, Worse yet, are they waiting for their ‘redundancy money’ so that they can invest it you know where? Have you formed effective alliances with you human resources department to find out where the problem areas in employee communications in your company are? Are your managers trained to communicate effectively with their staff or do you just throw everybody together, pretend not to hear the fighting and hope to God no one gets killed in any ensuing battle? And, sorry the e-mail alone won’t cut it for 2008. Think again.

Way to get them thinking Yvonne.

* * * * *

Contact David Zinger to learn about how you can

leverage employee engagement to produce results that matter

for everyone in your workplace.


Email: ~ Phone 204 254 2103 ~ Website:

PowerPoint Disengagement

Employee Engagement Extra.

This weekend feature offers extras and perspectives on employee engagement.

How engaged do you feel when the presenter begins showing  the first of what will turn out to be 400 information packed PowerPoint Slides? This is death by PowerPoint. 

I encourage you to pay attention to this popular slideshare presentation: Death by PowerPoint (and how to fight it) by Alexei Kapterev.