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Working Zingers: Variance

Encountering Variance

We respond to variance

in so many ways

from ignoring to snapping

from bewilderment to beffudlement.

When we experience variance

at work

let it trigger listening

let it trigger understanding

let it trigger learning.

Our approaches may vary

yet it is very valuable

to embrace variance

with full acceptance

before moving on.

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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3075 member Employee Engagement Network.  Connect with David today to improve engagement where you work:  dzinger@shaw.ca  –  204 254 2130  –   www.davidzinger.com.

An Employee Engagement Mantra

Recite this mantra when undertaking all employee engagement work.

I was doing some work on the positive deviant perspective applied employee engagement when I came across a delightful and insightful line. I think we too often violate this mantra and end up unintentionally sowing the seeds of disengagement.

Don’t do anything about me, without me.

Ensure your employee engagement work makes those words come alive in all your work. This would range from formulating survey questions to measure employee engagement to developing action plans and taking initiative to boost employee engagement.

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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3075 member Employee Engagement Network.  Connect with David today to improve engagement where you work:  dzinger@shaw.ca  –  204 254 2130  –   www.davidzinger.com.

Leveraging Positive Deviancy for Employee Engagement

Engaging Positive Deviancy for Change.

A deviant influence. I first was made aware of the positive deviancy model while taking The Influencer. As stated in the book:

“Positive deviance” can be extremely helpful in discovering the handful of vital behaviors that will help solve the problem you’re attacking. That is, first dive into the center of the actual community, family, or organization you want to change. Second, discover and study settings where the targeted problem should exist but doesn’t. Third, identify the unique behaviors of the group that succeeds.

Not cloning deviants. Positive deviancy is finding and studying individuals whose uncommon practices/behaviours enable them to find better solutions to problems compared with others who have the same resources. We don’t want to clone people but we want to learn and teach their successful behaviours and strategies.

The deviancy challenge. Positive deviancy has been used a lot in health related issues, safety, and a variety of big social issues. There are challenges with this approach as we:

  • move away from an expert model to a facilitation model.
  • challenge to scale up strategies
  • use time and resource intentsive.
  • develop comfort with uncertainty.

A field guide resource. I recommend reading the Basic Field Guide to the Positive Deviance Approach. If you were taking on an Influencer project and wished to enhance your positive deviancy leverage you would follow these steps outline so well in the field guide:

  1. Gather leadership involvement.
  2. Build your resource team
  3. Define or reframe the problem
  4. Determine the presence of positive deviants
  5. Discover the specific uncommon practices that enable positive deviants  to prevent of solve the problem
  6. Design and develop activities to expand your solution.
  7. Have the community measure, monitor, and evaluate the effectiveness

Can you spot the Positive Deviants?

Gather leadership involvement. Before embarking on positive deviance work in your organization to build employee engagement it is important to educate leaders about the approach and have them understand the steps and applications of this method of fostering engagement. Positive deviance loosens centralized control and decision making and unleashes conversations, cooperation, discovery, and invitation. We don’t impose a positive deviance methodology on people we invite them to engage with it. This may take more time than simply doing a survey and telling people to be more engaged yet will probably foster more engagement in the long run and be using a very engaging approach to find what you are looking for.

Build your resource team.  We don’t undertake positive deviance on our own.  We build a team representing the whole organization or department to define, determine, discover, design, and monitor the project. Once again, you are not just trying to find engagement you are building engagement with the very approach to this method of change.

Define or reframe the problem. Once your resource team is in place you begin to examine data, dialogues, visuals, diagrams, and other media to define or reframe the problem.  This is a time of extensive conversation and thoughtful interaction. For example, I believe in many organization the bigger issue is a conversational safety issue rather than a strict engagement issues. When we use anonymous surveys we contribute to anonymity and invisibility. We should work at putting names and faces to engagement and disengagement not to punish but to learn, converse, and change.

Determine the presence of positive deviants. At this point we want to identify the engaged individuals or teams in our organizations. Who is exhibiting successful engagement behaviors and form a team to learn from your positive deviants. There are a number of tools you can use in the identification process.

Discover the specific uncommon practices that enable positive deviants  to be fully engaged.  Your team may design tools for this step. Avoid a reliance on more engagement surveys. This is the time for direct observation, interviews, checklists, and action dialogues. As you do this look for practices, strategies, and behaviors of highly engaged employees.

Design and develop activities to expand your solution. Once the behaviors and tactics of highly engaged employees have been identified it is time to expand the solution by working out how to help others learn and practice these behaviors. What do the highly engaged employees teach us that we can help others learn?

Have the community measure, monitor, and evaluate the effectiveness. You need to monitor the progress of the initiatives and shared the impact with others. You may want to develop innovative ways of assessment that are developed by your team and community.  This is the time to honor and amplify results with storytelling and to create positive coaching.

Getting started. If you want to apply a positive deviance approach to enhancing engagement, I encourage you to create change by taking The Influencer Course and to study the Positive Deviance Fieldbook.

This post is a combination of two previous posts that appeared on the Shared Visions Website.

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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3075 member Employee Engagement Network. David wrote, Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work.  David’s website offers 1100 free posts/articles on the engagement. David is committed to fostering a movement to increase employee engagement 20% by 2020.

Connect with David Zinger today to improve engagement where you work.

Email: dzinger@shaw.ca  –  Phone 204 254 2130  –  Website: www.davidzinger.com

Employee Engagement: Do you have a moment?

An engaging moment trumps an annual survey score.

Key is unlocking the moment. Employee engagement is less about one consistent score measuring work over a year than ensuring that you fully engage with the key moments of your work. The key to engagement is not an annual measure but how we unlock the vital moments of work. How well do you show up for the moments that create change, produce results, and build relationships?

Engage movement with the moment. Stop thinking of engagement as an annual survey score and tune into those moments of truth. You can find engagement in a moment.

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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3075 member Employee Engagement Network. David wrote, Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work.  David’s website offers 1150 free posts on the engagement. David is committed to fostering a movement to increase employee engagement 20% by 2020.

Connect with David Zinger today to improve engagement where you work.

Email: dzinger@shaw.ca  –  Phone 204 254 2130  –  Website: www.davidzinger.com

Employee Engagement: A 2 Month Zengagement

Zengage

You have 2 more months in 2010.

What do you need to do
to make this a successful year
as you navigate through the trick
of Halloween
and find the treat?

Working Zingers: Flying Into Bad Ideas

And another thing

The guy behind me

in 16A on AC297 to Vancouver

knew everything.

He spewed nonstop advice for 3 hours

at the woman in 16C.

He never said,

“I don’t know.”

“What do you think.”

“Tell me your ideas.”

Over Moose Jaw I jammed

loud Steely Dan tunes into my ears

to obliterate the irritating expert.

My lesson from 33,000 feet:

Don’t make others listen up

you’ll tune them out.

Rather listen

side by side

to ensure your ideas fly.

Employee Engagement: Your Six Word Story Free Ebook

Over 140 Employee Engagement Stories

Here is the Employee Engagement Six Word Story Free Ebook created by the Employee Engagement Network. To get your copy of the book, click on the cover or click here.

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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3050 member Employee Engagement Network. David wrote, Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work.  David’s website offers 1100 free posts/articles on the engagement. David is committed to fostering a movement to increase employee engagement 20% by 2020.

Connect with David Zinger today to improve engagement where you work.

Email: dzinger@shaw.ca  –  Phone 204 254 2130  –  Website: www.davidzinger.com

A Story of Employee Engagement

The employee engagement story.

Peter Bregman wrote about motivation on the Harvard Business blog. Here is a snippet from that post.

People tend to think of themselves as stories. When you interact with someone, you’re playing a role in her story. And whatever you do, or whatever she does, or whatever you want her to do, needs to fit into that story in some satisfying way.

When you want something from someone, ask yourself what story that person is trying to tell about himself, and then make sure that your role and actions are enhancing that story in the right way.

We can stoke another person’s internal motivation not with more money, but by understanding, and supporting, his story…Ultimately someone else’s internal motivation is, well, her internal issue. But there are things we can do that will either discourage or augment her internal drive. And sometimes it’s as simple as what we notice.

Click here to read the full story.

Do you need some tips on how to craft compelling stories? View this well-designed supplemental slide presentation created by KNOLedge Learning & Training Services:

To view this presentation on slideshare, click here.

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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3050 member Employee Engagement Network. David wrote, Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work.  David’s website offers 1100 free posts/articles on the engagement. David is committed to fostering a movement to increase employee engagement 20% by 2020.

Connect with David Zinger today to improve engagement where you work.

Email: dzinger@shaw.ca  –  Phone 204 254 2130  –  Website: www.davidzinger.com

Rocco Mediate: A Golf Lesson For Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement: Keep Plugging Away.

Rocco Mediate is a very endearing golfer who has not won since 2002.

He just kept working and had a magical tournament this weekend at Fry.com as he holed out  for an eagle every day of the tournament.

Can you stay the course and keep an upbeat personality even when result are not occurring how you hoped? Don’t make your employee engagement contingent upon results and savor the moments when they occur. You just never know what may happen when you don’t get discouraged and you keep your eye on the prize.

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David Zinger is an employee engagement expert and host of the employee engagement network.