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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.

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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:  / Phone 204 254 2130  /  Website:

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.

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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:  / Phone 204 254 2130  /  Website:

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: Web:

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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:  / Phone 204 254 2130  /