Interchange - January 2024
The new year is a natural time for a re-start, a renewal of commitment, reenergizing. For us, this January is particularly exciting, because our book, The Great Engagement, will be launched on January 23, 2024!
So, no surprise then, our topic will be Engagement. In the book, we assert that the opposite of Engagement is not merely disengagement, but resignation. Here is a brief excerpt from the book:
The so-called Great Resignation was caused by years of pent-up resignation. People had a life altering experience in the COVID pandemic, reassessed their lives, and chose to walk away from jobs about which they felt resignation. So they resigned.
According to Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, all human beings strive for self-actualization—the fulfillment of one’s potential to make a difference or impact the world. This human impulse is why engagement is so important. When we feel that we are serving a purpose that doesn’t make an impact on the world that’s important to us, or when we lack the authority or empowerment to make a difference, resignation sets in.
The Great Resignation may be in the rearview mirror, but there is a lesson to be learned from it:
When people feel resigned, if they have a choice, they will resign!
A Formula for Engagement
The two factors we described above, meaningless work and powerlessness, result in resignation. This premise lead us to a simple formula for engagement:
Engagement = Aspiration + Empowerment
People who possess a compelling, aspirational purpose are energized to make an impact. We use the term purpose as a general term to include what might be called a vision, mission, goal, and so on. All great leaders aspire to some purpose that compels them to action. This same energy is what fuels exceptional, engaged organizations.
To be empowered is to possess permission to use our talents, creativity, judgment; to utilize the full measure of our capabilities in the service of an aspirational purpose. Some people take this permission themselves, like entrepreneurs, while others need it to be granted, even encouraged to accept it.. People who are empowered to unleash their creativity and exercise their judgment, and who are granted the authority to make decisions necessary to accomplish the purpose to which they aspire, experience fulfillment.
In our session, we will explore the nature of engagement, and explore how you might foster greater levels of aspiration in your organization. The new year, a natural time of renewal is a great opportunity to do so. Here are a few questions for discussion:
How might you counter the natural human tendency toward resignation?
What factors lead people in your organization to a feeling of resignation?
What might you do in the new year to foster, or inspire aspiration in your people?
…You are the CEO. How might you change your actions and habits in the new year if you were to view yourself as The Chief Engagement Officer?