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Archives for January 2011

HRExaminer Declares David Zinger #1 in the Top Online Influencers in Leadership 2011

Leadership Through Reach, Resonance, and Relevance

The assessment was done based on analysis of reach, resonance, and relevance:

  • Reach: This is an estimate of the size of the person’s audience. Website traffic, connections and friends on social media and other factors are weighed and calculated.
  • Resonance: This is a measure of inbound links, mentions in other peoples’ content and other proxies for credibility.
  • Relevance: This is a measure of the way that the person’s content maps against the original key words. A score of 100 indicates a perfect correlation.
  • The three measures are combined into a single score which is the foundation of ranking.

Here is Dr. Todd Dewett – Founding Member, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board examination of the leadership influence list:

Todd Dewett Examines the Top 25 Leadership list

This is the second HRExaminer Top 25 List focused on Leadership. You can see the first Top 25 Online Influencers in Leadership from July 2010 here.

Overall, I think this list is similar to the first.  Specifically, the new list can be interpreted as demonstrating what I have said before: one group does not own leadership; everyone owns it.  Unlike other disciplines and thought domains, leadership is the one generic body of knowledge understood and used by any and all high performing professionals.  Thus it is logical to expect a list of the nature we see.  The list is only half dominated by names from the leadership space and is then populated by a list of HR types with a few outsiders thrown in (e.g., a CPA, someone in the corporate social responsibility space, and someone in the restaurant space).

The most interesting new insight is the complete lack of famous names.  Our one famous person, Tom Peters, is gone.  The remaining names certainly have some amount of cache within their fields, but none have any visibility in the larger business world.  This reinforces the original finding that the emerging world of social media is a new frontier not well understood – or at least not embraced – by the old guard of well-known leadership personalities.  Once again this suggests a huge opportunity in the next few years for new voices to find large audiences – not because of the quality of their message (which may or may not be evident) but because of their mastery of new social media channels.

It may also be true that the changes in the list reflect an effort component.  Feeding the social media beast is hard work.  It takes dedication and creativity to constantly create new blog posts, tweets, etc.  One can always comb through our algorithm for answers, but logically it is important to note that one explanation may be pure tenacity.

One final insight that applies to both versions to date concerns the lack of businesses on the list.  Theoretically, a company could show up.  They use blogs, twitter, etc. – yet we see none.  Yes, the algorithm we are using is geared towards examining channels typically associated with individuals or small groups or companies that are very blog driven.  Nonetheless, this suggests a fascinating lack of knowledge on the part of large companies.  They could unleash an army of bloggers following trending topics and words that create relevant content (i.e., related to the trends as well as their companies).

This thought makes me wonder if we are now simply in the wild-west stage of social media and, in general, web presence.  The future may be far more competitive both in terms of knowledge and use of social media channels and in terms of creating truly compelling high quality content.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

David Zinger believes that engagement is the new leadership and management. He works with organizations and individuals to improve employee engagement.  His writing, speaking, coaching, and consulting focus on helping organizations and individuals increase employee engagement by 20%. David founded the 3360 member Employee Engagement Network. The network  is committed to increasing employee engagement 20% by 2020.

Contact David today to increase engagement where you work. (Email: dzinger@shaw.ca  / Phone 204 254 2130  /  Website: www.davidzinger.com)

Workaiku: No more punch

punch cards with tiny holes

vanishing like confetti

screens have taken over

Employee Engagement and 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change

Are you mistaken?

Standford University Persuasive Tech Lab offers the follow short slide presentation on 10 common errors in behavioral change. Ensure that you don’t make these errors in your employee engagement efforts.

The Employee Engagement Network Turns 3 Today

Happy Birthday!

3333 members in 3 years. I am very excited today to celebrate the third birthday of the Employee Engagement Network. It began on a cold Saturday in Winnipeg as an experiment to see if anyone else was interested in employee engagement (apparently they were and are) and has grown to over 3333 members in 3 years. Over the next 10 years I trust this network will have a significant impact on increasing employee engagement 20% around the globe.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

David Zinger is an introvert who loves community. He works with organizations and individuals to improve employee engagement.  His writing, speaking, coaching, and consulting focus on helping organizations and individuals increase employee engagement by 20%. David founded the 3340 member Employee Engagement Network. The network  is committed to increasing employee engagement 20% by 2020. Contact David today to increase engagement where you work:

(Email: dzinger@shaw.ca  / Phone 204 254 2130  /  Website: www.davidzinger.com)

Declaration of the Disengaged: There is no I in Work

Workaiku: Icing

at work we create

big incredible results

and eat cheesecake too

Employee Engagement 2010 Dozen (Dec): Getting Everyone on the Bus

In Transit

Fostering Connection, Collaboration, and Transformation to Move From Enraged to Engaged.

(A Winnipeg Transit Story)

An interview with Helen Maupin

I had the good fortune to interview Helen Maupin in Winnipeg recently. Helen is involved in Whole Systems Design with the legacybowesgroup and was involved in a large scale initiative with Winnipeg Transit. In partnership with representatives from all parts of the organization, Helen recently offered a session on: From Enraged to Engaged: Connecting Through Collaboration.

As I listened to Helen I could hear how proud and appreciative she was of the people from Winnipeg Transit who voiced their story and experiences with this engaging, connected, and collaborative approach to transforming employee engagement within Winnipeg Transit.

I was impressed with the elegant and robust simplicity of Helen’s statement during the interview: “My job was to show up, really be present, and support the engagement in the organization in whatever pockets it was showing potential to emerge or was already emerging.”

…..

Can you offer readers a thumbnail sketch of the Transit story and what stimulated an approach to connect through collaboration?

In August 2008, Winnipeg Transit narrowly escaped a strike vote that would have crippled the public transportation system and inconvenienced 130,000 commuters. What so enraged over 1000 civil servants, namely bus operators, to want to send City Hall a message and what was their message? Three major conditions led up to this trigger event — the health/stress factors facing bus operators, the command and control cultural of Transit, and the adversarial and often bullying relationships between management, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and its membership.

Health/stress factors:

Winnipeg Transit operates a 24/7, 365-day schedule. New operators are required to work weekends and holidays, and days off may not be consecutive or consistent. The majority of shifts take place between 5 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. New operators work both day and night shifts, at times changing from one to the other with little notice. Split shifts consisting of two or three pieces of work can take over 12 hours to complete. The new operator can expect to be placed on what is known as the spare board where work assignments can change daily and even hourly. The choice of when vacation can be taken is limited by seniority. There is extremely limited supervision and support as the supervisor-operator reporting ratio is 1:350, which does not allow for continued coaching and development.

In addition, the work requires:

  • fielding requests from hundreds of passengers a day,
  • driving through heavy traffic while minding traffic signs and rules of the road,
  • watching for bus stop signs,
  • being mindful of late passengers who are running for the bus,
  • attending to cyclists on and off the road,
  • adjusting to changing weather and road conditions, construction and rerouting,
  • dealing with noise on and off the bus as well as with unruly passengers, and
  • being aware of the warning signs when an assault could take place.

Command and Control Culture:
Transit’s management reward system was built on a seniority scale with years of service being rewarded as opposed to customer service and performance excellence. This culture of entitlement promoted management based on who was next in line and not on who was best suited at coaching and developing the workforce. Add into this mix the supervisor-operator reporting ratio of 1:350, it becomes apparent why efficiency not effectiveness was the management style of the day. Although it may seem more efficient to discipline for failure rather to coach for success, these tactics left the operators feeling blamed for many circumstances beyond their control. What evolved was an atmosphere of mistrust between operators and management, which was noticeable in the cafeteria where the two sides would not sit together or interact. Ultimately, morale was low for both supervisory and driving staff.

Relationships between the Union and its Members:
While negotiating the 2008 contract, the union was unable to reach a deal acceptable to operators and in fear of strike action, the ATU Executive ratified a settlement with the Winnipeg City Council believing the contract did not have to be voted on by the overall membership. The membership was infuriated when they learned of this development. Bus operators felt their voices were not being heard and there was no guarantee management would entertain changing any of their poor working conditions. Traditionally, the ATU had always followed their own international by-laws, which they discovered are superseded by Manitoba Labor Laws. As a result of this oversight, tempers flared and trust in the union eroded.

The City’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) was aware of the circumstances brewing inside Transit. The CAO attended mass meetings with the ATU membership and, after listening to their issues, assured drivers that if they accepted the contract, Transit would embark on changing its culture and working conditions. In a letter written to the ATU President, the CAO stated, “While achieving cultural change is a long term endeavor, I am committed to achieving positive change in our workplaces.” Hope was sparked amongst the union membership and a vote of 57% passed the contract.

What was your governing philosophy through the project?

There are no bad people, only bad systems that frustrate good people from doing good work. Agreement by the tri-partite working conditions committee (management, union and employees) on this principle was the first small win.

What did you see as the link between collaboration and engagement?

No one wishes to come to work to do a bad job. We are all seeking ways to contribute to the betterment of ourselves, our workplaces and our societies. When we bring together as change agents those who will be impacted by the change, we have engaged passion, curiosity and multiple problem solving skills. It is this combination of variables within a collaborative group that releases innovation and creativity, which are necessary factors in resolving the complex, big life and work issues of today. When our emotions and intelligence are activated in purposeful endeavors, we are engaged. When we have the opportunity to be engaged within a group sharing a purposeful goal, we exponentially increase both our ability to change our world and our enjoyment in the success of this community.

What were some of the key steps to foster wide scale engagement?

  1. Agree collectively on operating principles or guidelines that set the desired standard for how everyone wishes to be treated and will commit to working toward (i.e., eliminate fault-finding/blaming others).
  2. Require compassion and forgiveness to be part of #1. We will all slip back into old, possibly destructive, patterns of behaviour until our new practices are internalized. Everyone deserves a second chance.
  3. Do not take others’ negative responses personally. We cannot create others’ feelings, only they can choose how to feel in any situation. Personalizing an attack from another person, only escalates defensiveness and negative outcomes.
  4. Tackle less contentious tasks initially to bring about early small wins. This effectively allows for the development of new skills (learning-while-doing) and builds confidence within the change stewards that they are able to rebuild relationships and trust. When the harder tasks arrive on the agenda, their practice and confidence have created the foundation needed to meet these challenges.
  5. Begin early in the engagement process to include as many new individuals as possible in order to prevent jealousy, elitism and a boundary forming around the change stewards whose role is really internal consultants to their constituencies.

What were the challenges you or the people in the organization had to overcome to move from enraged to engaged?

  1. The disbelief that peace is possible, particularly when someone you have fought bitterly with for years now sees you as the problem and vice versa. In other words, trusting that there is a better way, and it is possible to get there.
  2. Accept that when we engage in change, it means that we will be changing some aspect of ourselves before we can engage others in that change. This means everyone involved changes — the external consultant, management, the union, employees, customers and suppliers.
  3. Fear-based decision making shrinks rather than expands potential. Engagement in life requires us to lean into our fears. This is why compassion and forgiveness are such necessary states of being because we all need to feel some level of safety in order to challenge ourselves with uncertainty and the unknown.

What were the key results?

1. Financial ROI: a conservative estimate of $612,762. savings over one year.

Staff turnover and training cost savings in 2009 of $156,762.

Grievances reduced from 35 (22 required legal fees) in 2005-2008 to 0 in 2009-10 with a combined (ATU and Transit) savings of $456,000.

2. Employee Survey February 2010 (compared to 2004 survey) confirmed significant improvements in:

Respect and consideration of supervisors

Receiving credit for a job well done

Understanding the need for work-life balance

Improving working conditions — safety and technology

3. Organizational Culture:

Increased investment in employee engagement

Improved responsiveness to employee issues

New leadership style with a focus on training, coaching and skill building

Increased trust between ATU and management

Improved problem-solving when dealing with employee performance issues

Increased decision-making for bus operators

Commitment from ATU, Management and Bus Operators to improve working conditions using Collaborative Work Systems

What are 3 to 5 key tips you would offer another organization or individual if they wanted to make the journey from enraged to engaged?

  1. Believe in the power of three. Bringing a 3rd-party to the table when relationships have descended to blame and fault-finding allows for clearer insight and new forms of engaging behaviour to be tried. That 3rd party may be the employees that management and the union work for.
  2. Believe in the process of engagement. Rekindle your relationship with trust. Do you view life as inherently good or evil? Do you trust your own abilities to provide what you need to thrive? Remind yourself that your ability to trust in the creative powers of life increases your ability to move beyond survival into thriving.
  3. Believe in the impossible. Today’s accomplishments were once someone’s impossible dreams. In my view, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished by an engaged, purposeful group willing to take one step-at-a-time.
  4. Believe that joy is our only job.

It was enlightening and joyful to speak with Helen about such a powerful approach to fostering employee engagement.

Here is Helen Maupin contact information:

Helen Maupin, M.A. VP Whole Systems Design & Dev’t. Legacy Bowes Group

Email: helenm@legacybowes.com Web: http://www.legacybowes.com

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

David Zinger, M.Ed., helps organizations and individuals increase employee engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant. David founded the 3200 member Employee Engagement Network. He is committed to increasing employee engagement 20% by 2020. Contact David today to improve engagement where you work

(Email: dzinger@shaw.ca  / Phone 204 254 2130  /  Websitewww.davidzinger.com)

Employee Engagement 2010 Dozen (Nov): 7 Powerful I-Statements

Eye-I for Engagement

The following 7 internal “I” statements were inspired by my work with Crucial Conversations. To me, they are the essence of a strong foundation for interpersonal connection that builds relationships and achieves results. Crucial Conversations is designed for situations of high stakes, differing opinions, and strong emotions. These statements can form the underpinning of most engaging interactions. I was honored to first present these ideas at Shared Visions Community Day of Practice for Crucial Conversations.

1. I care about you. We only fully engage with other people we care about. Caring does not meaning liking but caring for the other person creates the foundation of respect.  Without caring, skills can become manipulation and crucial conversations can quickly slide into creepy conversations. Ensure there is care in your approach to others.

2. I care about what you are interested in. In so many conversations we seem to talk about our self but statement two encourages us to move beyond our self to a focus on the other person and their intentions.  In conversations, do you ask as much as advocate and is there a strong focus on the other person and what they want and intend?

3. I see you. How attentive are you to others at work? How well do you pay attention to what they do? It is very powerful to be really seen by another who cares about you and also cares about what you are interested in and fully pays attention to you and your actions. I believe that in employee engagement anonymous surveys unintentionally communicate that people at work are invisible. In the age of engage we show up and mindfully attend to what we see going on.

4. I hear you. Do you stop to fully listen, not just waiting for the other person to finish so that you can start talking? When we see and hear we gather a foundation of facts for a safe conversation or fuller engagement with another person. In powerful engagement not only do we hear but we retain and communicate the significant elements of what we hear.

5. I think about you. People who powerfully engage with others take time to be reflective about other people’s actions and intentions. We seldom stay neutral on facts and quickly create stories to understand what is going on. The problem is that our stories can create their own problems. If our actions are based on caring we are also careful of the stories and thoughts we have while being open to letting others know that we are thinking of them as we extend an invitation to engage rather than voice an inquisition of interrogation.

6. I invite you. How well do you invite other people into conversations and interactions. In the age of engage we need to quickly go beyond caring, seeing, and thinking to asking and inviting others into interactions so that we can both learn, grow, and develop through being together.

7. I am changed by you. So many of us are so busy trying to change others that we forget that the other person is only half of the equation while we are the other half and that our engagement with them should have an equally probability of changing us. Here are two quick questions to test your ability to be changed or altered:

  • When was the last time you were changed because of a conversation with another person?
  • Do you enter interactions ready, willing, and able to be changed?

Engage. Live the approaches of caring, showing up, reflecting, inviting, and changing to bring more engagement to your interactions and to engage authentically in building relationships while achieving results.

An earlier version of this post appear at the Shared Visions Website.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

David Zinger’s – Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work.

50% off until December 25 – 25 Day Sale!

To order, click here.

From $14.00 including shipping in Canada to $5.00 as PDF E-Book Download.

David Zinger, M.Ed., helps organizations and individuals increase employee engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant. David founded the 3100 member Employee Engagement Network. He is committed to increasing employee engagement 20% by 2020. Contact David today to improve engagement where you work (Email: dzinger@shaw.ca  / Phone 204 254 2130  /  Website: www.davidzinger.com).

Employee Engagement 2010 Dozen (Oct): Hacking Work

Benevolent Hackers Exemplify Robust and Innovative Employee Engagement

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough;

we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Such a card. I was facilitating a workshop recently and we were talking about writing a message on the back of the business card. I was doing an exercise that was inspired by Mike Morrison’s The Other Side of the Business Card. Mike structures a number of exercises where people can use the blank side of their business card to work on their work. To the chagrin of one participant her business card was full of stuff on both sides. One side had her position, department, and contact information while the other side had the corporate and logo and tagline.

Hack your business card. We were lamenting the lack of white space at work and she stated how much information she used to put on the back of her card for clients, how useful they would find this bite size referral or information, and how often they would be still clinging to the card during the next appointment. I had some blank business cards with me for people who didn’t have business cards and I gave her one to use for the exercise. Within a moment she had envisioned a hack for her work. She stated she would get a whole bunch of blank cards and glue them to the back of her card so that she could reclaim the power of this small yet powerful tool that was so helpful for clients and played a strong role in achieving the organization’s goals.

Break rules to achieve results. Bill Jensen and Josh Klein would say this was an example of hacking your work. Bill and Josh joined forces to encourage benevolent rule breakers with, Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results. They have developed a great resources on how to customize your work for results. Become a benevolent hacker. Their idea was profiled  in the top 10 breakthrough ideas for 2010 published by the Harvard Business Review.

Hacking snippet. Here is a snippet on hacking from the  Breakthrough Idea for 2010:

Hack work, and embrace the others in your midst who care enough to do so. Hackers work around the prescribed ways of doing things to achieve their goals. The benevolent among them do this rule bending for the good of all.

You probably already are a hacker. I believe we may be hacking more than we know. As I read the book I realized in my past that I often worked around certain workplace rules to best serve my clients and the organization. For example, I was an employee assistance counsellor for a large distillery in Canada. Rather than seeing my clients in an office I would often sit with them as they were driving a truck around the plant site or go to their homes to see them or see them on the shore of the lake near the distillery. This ensured they got the help they needed without being self-conscious and coming to a counsellor’s office.

Shattered control. The illusion of corporate control is being shattered in the name of increased personal productivity. Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler from Forrester Research and authors ot the book, Empowered, stated more than one-third of U.S. information workers use technologies their companies have not sanctioned. What hacking are you already doing that is breaking a rule and benefiting your customer or organization?

Start hacking. Here are 4 guidelines on selecting what to hack:

  • Select the 3 things that drive you most crazy at work
  • Learn more about each one
  • For your first hack, keep it simple
  • Determine success; start with the result you want to achieve.

Hacking for the good of all. Hacking Work is packed with tips, perspectives, cautions, and approaches to help you become an engaged hacker. I believe one of the highest levels of employee engagement is when employees think well beyond their role and workplace policies to determine what they can engage with to best serve the organization, customers, leaders, and themselves.

Double your breakthrough with the power of progress. In the same HBR list of breakthrough ideas for 2010 was Teresa Amabile and Steven Krammer’s piece on what really motivates workers.  According to their extensive research, based on 12,000 daily diary entries of motivation and emotion, the top motivator for workers is progress. Their idea focused mostly on how managers can foster progress for workers.  If you think about it for a second, hacking work is a strong method to put progress within each worker’s hands while increasing movtivation and building strong and robust employee engagement based on real progress.

4 Engaged Hacking Actions:

  1. Read Hacking Work
  2. Determine what you can do to improve work and progress by thinking outside the set way of “doing things.”
  3. Start hacking and monitor your results.
  4. Begin workplace conversations on what we are lacking by not hacking.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3000 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  –  Visit: www.davidzinger.com

Workaiku: You mean now?

tick tick tick tick tick

tempus fugit, time flies by

no second helping

Employee Engagement 2010 Dozen (Sept): Zinger’s WILD Vision

Isn’t it about time to get WILD about Employee Engagement?

A WILD Vision

Here is the first iteration of a WILD 20/20 Vision I see for employee engagement.

To foster a 20% global increase

in employee engagement

by the year 2020.

Can you spell vision, W-I-L-D? A WILD vision is composed of the letters in WILD to guide the formulation and development of the vision. A WILD vision is similar and different to a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

A BHAG:

  • is both clear and compelling
  • serves as unifying focal point of effort
  • acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit
  • creates a clear finish line

From BHAG to WILD. Why change the name and focus if they share much in common? I believe WILD gets at the criteria for a vision as opposed to a label for a goal. WILD is more about a vision than a goal as many people assert that a BHAG does not necessarily foster action and movement. Read Bob Sutton’s, Hey Boss — Enough with the Big, Hairy Goals.

Wild Engagement. A wild vision can be used for many endeavors but I specifically created it with employee engagement in mind. I think we need to go wild with employee engagement to stop and reverse the recent rapid decline in engagement and to ensure that work works for everyone.

Here is a quick overview of WILD:

W stands for Woolly and Wow.  A wild vision is simply that, wild. It is not tamed or caged with specific SMART objectives at the early stage.  It is  woolly (a little bit like big and hairy). A wild vision needs to have room to roam and freedom to evolve. A wild vision has a good dash of what Tom Peter’s would refer to as wow. This wild vision will be achieved through community not through proclamations of one voice or the work of a single organization. We may not need to howl but we will need to come together and I believe the 3000 member Employee Engagement Network has the potential to be the start of that community.

I stands for Intentional, Improvised, and Iterations. I prefer, especially at the early stages of a vision to work with intentions over goals. The vision may be improvised and changed and it will go through different iterations as a community or organizations works with it. For example, a major challenge faced by this type of vision will be how to measure a 20%  increase and how to work with so many different approaches and methods of engagement. Each consulting company has a different definition and approach, the academic community is looking at engagement through a variety of lenses and each member of the Employee Engagement Network would probably offer you a different view or version of employee engagement. The advantage is that there are many people already working on this and we have a variety of measures and previous measurements of engagement.

L stands for Lived with Love. A wild vision is both lived and loved. Lived in that it resides within and between people. The vision is not for posting on a wall and it is not a shallow demonstration of faith. Employee engagement is not a problem to be solved, it is an experience to be lived and we must work together to make this experience come alive for the benefit of all. The vision is also loved in that people care about the vision. I have been tremendously influenced by Erich Fromm’s view of love requiring discipline, concentration, and patience. Certainly a 20% increase in employee engagement by 2020 will require all three of these practices outlined in the Art of Loving and hopefully lived within and through the employee engagement community.

D stands for Declared and Dedication. A wild vision needs to be declared and dedication will be involved in sustaining this march towards more engagement over the next 9 years. Perhaps we will need to co-create a declaration of employee engagement and to create a forum and method to express our dedication and gumption to turn employee engagement around.

Are you ready to go WILD for employee engagement?

Future Post: The Benefits of Going WILD for Employee Engagement. The potential global economic benefit from a 20% increase in employee engagement could be well over $100 Billion each year. This does not include all the other social, organizational, personal, and community benefits from higher levels of engagement.

~~~~~

David Zinger works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 3000 member Employee Engagement Network. David’s most recent book is , 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 WILD 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 2010 Dozen (Aug): Getting Results the Agile Way

Focus on Agile Results to Enhance Employee Engagement

J. D Meier has crafted an insightful and practical book on Getting Results the Agile Way. He is  a principal program manager for the patterns & practices team at Microsoft and the author of the wonderful blog: Sources of Insight. I have always found his work thorough, thoughtful, and helpful. This book is certainly no exception and I encourage you to study and apply Getting Results the Agile Way to enhance your employee engagement and work results.

Here is a list of the books key chapters:

  • Chapter 1 – Why Agile Results
  • Chapter 2 – Agile Results Overview
  • Chapter 3 – Values, Principles, and Practices
  • Chapter 4 – Hot Spots
  • Chapter 5 – Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection
  • Chapter 6 – Design Your Day
  • Chapter 7 – Design Your Week
  • Chapter 8 – Design Your Month
  • Chapter 9 – Design Your Year
  • Chapter 10 – Results Frame, Personas, and Pitfalls
  • Chapter 11 – 25 Keys to Results
  • Chapter 12 – 25 Strategies for Results
  • Chapter 13 – Motivation
  • Chapter 14 – Mindsets and Metaphors

3 Power. Overall the book offers stories, scenario-driven results, and timeboxing, to improve your productivity, master your time management, and achieve work-life balance. Readers are encouraged to apply the power of 3 for simplicity, structure, and success. We feel so overloaded that 3 stories for the day or 3 tasks for the year gives us great focus. I have always appreciated the use of 3 and have a 3 word theme each year. This year my 3 word theme is: Engage, Mobilize, and Produce.

Boundaries. J.D. encourages us to set boundaries on our work. Here is a sample snippet from an online version of the book:

Boundaries are simply minimums and maximums. Setting boundaries is a key to success. You’ll produce more effective results by spending the right time and energy on the right things. You can set boundaries with time; for example, tell yourself, “I’ll spend no more than an hour on that.” You can set boundaries in terms of energy; for example, tell yourself, “I’ll stop when I start to feel tired.” Most people trip up by not setting boundaries. They’ll work on something until they crash. They throw all their time in one area at the expense of other areas. Setting boundaries is how you can add balance to your life. You can spread your time and energy across the important Hot Spots.

I find setting boundaries a very helpful tool. It helps me get working on a task without it feeling overwhelming. For example, I set a boundary of 45 minutes to write and revise this review before I started and this eliminated any procrastination or dithering about this task.

Get Agile. Get Results. The key to achieving great results is learning and responding to change. Existing methods of planning and goal setting are heavy and static, and they just aren’t working anymore. Agile Results provides fresh starts for your work. I encourage you to start this September by applying the wisdom J. D. Meier offers in his book packed with practical strategies, tactics, and tools. I have read the book once and I plan to keep coming back to it over the next year to distill and practice getting results with great agility. I feel very confident that practicing Getting Results the Agile Way would be a huge step to enhancing employee engagement for anyone!

…..

David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals to foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 2880 member Employee Engagement Network. David’s new book, Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work will be released September 9th.  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 2010 Dozen (July): Do You Have a Red Dot?

Engage the Power of the RED DOT!

The return of The One Ball. This post marks the return of the One Ball Theme to this site. The One Ball posts offered guidance in elevating and achieving fully engaged performance. You can read the first post in the series from January 2009: The One Ball: Engaged Performance.

The Red Dot. Did  you watch any of the 2010 British Open and the fantastic performance by South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen? Louis attributed part of his marvelous golf and focused success to having a red dot placed on his golf glove. This was at the urging of his sports psychology coach Karl Morris. Oosthuizen placed a red dot on his golf glove to reminded himself, whenever his mind wandered, to focus on the task. Since the dot was visible as soon as he took his grip for a shot he was able to use it as a trigger to block all distractions and concentrate on one shot at a time. It was a marvelous performance and made even more marvelous by this fourth place finish the following week in the Scandinavian Masters Tournament. It can be a challenge to focus after a big win and all the demands placed on your time and attention after winning one of golf’s major championships.

Concentrate on the task at hand and switch off. Here are some statement from Karl Morris about the red dot mechanism:  “Louis was concerned about his concentration so we sat down together and talked about it,” said Warrington-based Morris. “We decided the red dot was going to be his trigger point to switch him into a zen-like state. Before every shot at St Andrews he looked down at it. Your mind can wander off and think about a six-shot lead but focusing on something helps bring you back to the present.”  Oosthuizen stated: “I’d always wander off badly and struggle to get back into the moment, just looking down at it and remembering what we were saying helped me quite a lot. I took my time, focused on the shot and did it beautifully.”

Are you seeing red? What triggers or cues do you use at work or in performance to focus and be fully engaged in what you are doing while you are doing it.

  • There is no magic to a red dot. I encourage you to find your own cue that helps you bring full attention to the task at hand and of course you could always start with the red dot and see if it works for you.
  • Draw a red dot on a sticky note and place it where you can see it when you are about to engage in an activity that demands your focused concentration and full engagement.
  • Use your red dot as a cue before a presentation to do your best. It could be on your laptop during a sales presentation or your first slide could be a red dot to help the audience also focus.
  • Place a red dot on a file or folder that you struggle to stay focused and not have your mind wander.
  • Of course, if you are a golfer you can grab a red marker and put it on your glove. I won’t guarantee you will win the British Open after doing this but you might find yourself more focused on each shot and enjoying the game more.
  • You could also use being stopped by a red light (a slightly bigger red dot) to regain your focus and attention.
  • Engage the power of red to help you get ahead!

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David Zinger, M.Ed., works with organizations and individuals foster engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 2750 member Employee Engagement Network. David’s website offers you  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

Workaiku: Spreadsheet Cells

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Employee Engagement 2010 Dozen (June): Just Add Spinach

Let’s create more robust employee engagement!

This post originally appeared as a column in Employee Engagement Today.

Employee engagement is too damn anaemic to give us the full results we hope for individuals, organisations and other stakeholders from shareholders to customers. The anaemia of the phrase partially stems from attaching engagement exclusively to the word employee. This makes the concept too narrow in scope and too tightly defined to role. Robust engagement involves work engagement, student engagement, teacher engagement, project engagement, customer engagement, social media engagement, engaged management…

Are you engaged? When we get engaged to be married we are excited and looking forward to our time together. We feel passion and devotion and hope. We don’t have to complete a 12-question survey and wait six months to hear about how engaged we are with our spouse-to-be. We don’t need someone to run us through a training programme. We are engaged. Love, at times, may be blind but let’s not turn a blind eye to the passion and experience of engaged work. We don’t need to become blindly naive to our work but we should experience energy, desire and passion. Do you really believe launching an employee engagement approach with an anonymous survey will start passion flowing? Of course, don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for unbridled passion. We don’t have to bounce around like Tigger from Winnie-The-Pooh but we do need to direct our passion for work into contributions, building relationships and achieving results.

Many leaders suffer from employee engagement concept myopia. Upper management and leaders do not see themselves as employees and refer to employees as ‘them’. Them is us and whatever applies to the custodial and call centre staff applies to the CEO and president. Engagement is not something you do to people; engagement is our connection with people and with our work, regardless of our role or function within the organisation.

It seems that our workplaces present engagement as a problem to be solved. That is too anaemic. Yes, there are problems but I think ultimately engagement is much more about an experience to be lived ratherthan a narrow problem to be solved.

We don’t need to abandon employee engagement but we need to enrich it. Engagement is about achieving results that matter to all. Ensure that everyone benefits from engagement and ensure employees fully realise engagement is not a management term for ‘sucking out more discretionary effort’ from employees. Don’t house engagement within human resources or internal communication. It belongs throughout the organisation. Yes, you can have a champion and a coordinator but engagement is everybody’s business.

Employee engagement is much more than creating a happy dance YouTube video. I believe fun and playfulness can contribute to engagement but if that is how we demonstrate engagement it will never be sustained within the strategic direction and budgets of the organisation. Ensure managers realise that engagement is not an extra on top of far-too-many demands. Help managers and leaders realise engagement is how we manage and lead in this decade. We engage through co-created results, conversation, collaboration, community and high quality connections. Add strength to engagement. There are many pathways to strength identification. Ensure you go beyond identification to helping all employees know, live and leverage their strengths in the service of others, the organisation and themselves.

Ban anonymous engagement or disengagement. Engagement requires a name and a face not some anonymous survey. Chase consultants away who tell you they can’t tell you specifically who is engaged or who is disengaged. Engagement is about people – not pie charts or statistics. Engagement must be genuine and authentic. Be like Popeye who declared, “I yam what I yam what I yam”. Let people know who you are. Disengagement is a warning sign for both the employee and the organisation that conversations need to take place and work together to determine what changes need to occur to create more engagement for the benefit of all.

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

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David Zinger, M.Ed., helps organizations and individuals improve engagement.  He is a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant who founded the 2600 member Employee Engagement Network. David’s website offers you  1100 posts/articles on the engagement reaching  over 1,000,000 page views in the first 4 months of 2010.

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 2010 Dozen (May) Zinger’s 5-Item APGAR Pulse Assessment

APGAR: Birthing A Playful New Employee Engagement Gage

Time for a new gage? In my last post: Is Your Employee Engagement Gage Working I was critical of the over-reliance on surveys as our employee engagement gage. I recently presented at a woman and child healthcare conference and I decided to get playful with the participants and create an employee engagement gage they could relate to. I created an employee engagement APGAR test.

The Apgar Score was devised in 1952 by Dr. Virginia Apgar as a simple and repeatable method to quickly and summarily assess the health of newborn children immediately after birth. It looks at activity, pulse, grimace, appearance, and respiration. The test is generally done at one and five minutes after birth, and may be repeated later if the score is low. Scores 3 and below are generally regarded as critically low, 4 to 6 fairly low, and 7 to 10 generally normal.

Newborns and the APGAR score. The APGAR is our first assessment at birth. We start getting measured early in life. I vividly remember my oldest son’s birth and the APGAR assessment within moments of his birth. His score was  low but action was taken immediately and he is doing very well as an adult. It sure would be nice to have that kind of response around employee engagement or employee disengagement — quick assessment leading to immediate intervention.

Shorter assessments – quicker action. Perhaps we don’t need elaborate surveys — just a 5-item assessment of how we are “birthing” employee engagement leading to immediate action.  As I examined the actual assessment it seemed to me that the key APGAR terms translate nicely to engagement:

  1. Activity: Getting Resuts
  2. Pulse: Caring for Your Work
  3. Grimace: Happiness at Work
  4. Appearance: Fully Engaged at Work
  5. Respiration: Work Inspiration

Playful pulse. Please note the quick assessment below was given to participants at the conference to have some fun and make a link between their jargon and the jargon used in employee engagement. This is not used as an actual assessment but I  believe we should be striving for assessments of this length.

An engaging survey. In addition I found because of the humor participants found the quick survey very engaging as opposed to the dread of the annual 45 minute 100-item organizational employee engagement survey. Does anyone actually believe employees find these annual lengthy surveys engaging?

Click the image above for a larger view of this playful assessment.

Still breathing? This was a playful assessment. I don’t intend for you to actually put this exact assessment into practice but perhaps you can create a short assessment that relates strongly with the work of your organization, have some fun, make your measurement engaging, and take engaging actions immediately.

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David Zinger, M.Ed., is an employee engagement writer, educator, speaker, coach, and consultant. David founded and moderates the 2400+ member Employee Engagement Network. His personal website offers 1000 posts/articles relating to employee engagement and reached over 1,000,000 page views in under 4 months in 2010. David is involved in the application of Enterprise 2.0 approaches to engagement and the precursor, creating engaging approaches to communication, collaboration, and community within Enterprise 2.0.

Connect with David Zinger today for education, speaking, and coaching on engagement.

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

Employee Engagement 2010 Dozen (Apr): 14 Lessons From 2 Boys and a Sewer

Full Employee Engagement is Sewer Power, Really!

Notice what is in front of you. I was returning home from a jog when I encountered my neighbour and her two sons. The boys, ages 2 and 4, were bounding ahead of their mom straight to the cover of the sewer on our street (see the picture of the actual sewer above).

Down the Sewer and Into Engagement. They didn’t hesitate to plunk themselves down on the manhole and engage fully with the sewer. Within moments, I noticed them scrapping at the grate with little twigs, throwing small pebbles to hear the plunk, and lying face down and peering down into the dark abyss.

Think again. I smiled at my neighbor and said it was great to see how engaged her boys could be with a simple sewer cover and that we adults seemed all too busy for this. As I got home I began to think of the power of the sewer and engagement. I went back, took the picture above, and made this list of lessons:

The 14 Engagement Lessons of the Sewer Grate:

  1. Embrace time. Embrace time in your life to experience the absorption and  freedom of full engagement.
  2. The myth of  inherently engaging work. Work is not engaging in and of itself. With the right mindset we can engage in any type of work. Stop dreaming of another job and wake up to the work in front of you.
  3. Work is better together. Engagement is better together. It helps to engage with your younger brother or a coworker. Engagement is doubled: engaged in work and engaged with each other.
  4. Get close to your work. Stop being self-conscious while you work, feel free to lay on the sewer without a care or simply immerse yourself in the work in front of you.
  5. Stay young, don’t grow up. When someone tells you to grow up don’t forget how engaged you were when you were young. Leverage the wisdom of weaving play into your work.
  6. Stinky work? Even stinky work can be engaging.
  7. Below the surface. In our work, there is lots going on below the surface. Take time to notice and drop the occasional pebble down the grate to hear how deep your work actually is.
  8. Get your mind into the gutter. Perhaps we don’t always have to get our mind out of the gutter.
  9. Find tools close at hand. Look for tools and job aids close at hand. A twig can be a scrapper and a pebble can be a depth charge. What tools are at hand that would help you more fully engage in your work?
  10. Be Grate! Ask yourself: What is holding me back from “Grate-ness”?
  11. Invite your boss to engage. Don’t be afraid to call your mom or boss over to see the neat things you are engaged in. You might just be engaging them too in their work.
  12. Adventure is right in front of us. Stop taking so much for granted. We can find adventure in the manhole or the mundane. Remember, even a hole has the potential to create wholeness.
  13. “Let be” versus “get do”. Engagement may be as much about letting your self be as getting yourself to do.
  14. You learned it all before kindergarten.  Perhaps all we needed to learn about employee engagement can be learned before kindergarten.

Invitation. You don’t need to race out of your cubicle on the 52 floor of your office building in New York City, race down the elevator, and drop yourself on to the road and peer down a sewer grate on Fifth Avenue. Although if you are so inclined don’t think I would stop you (of course watch out for cars). What I do invite you to do is read the lessons above and determine what you can do to  fully enhance your work experiences.

Go ahead, make work “grate.”

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David Zinger, M.Ed., is an employee engagement writer, educator, speaker, coach, and consultant. He offers exceptional contributions on employee engagement for leaders, managers, and employees. David founded and moderates the 2300 member Employee Engagement Network. His website offers 1000 posts/articles relating to employee engagement and strength based leadership. David is involved in the application of Enterprise 2.0 approaches to engagement and the precursor, creating engaging approaches to communication, collaboration, and community within Enterprise 2.0.

Book David for education, speaking, and coaching on engagement today for 2010.

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

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