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Tinker or Transform?

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I was talking to a group of CEO’s recently about how they can increase employee engagement and at the end of the workshop several of them asked me for examples of actions they could take to get an uptick in engagement.  I gave some examples from the research and our personal experience working with clients.  Later, I wondered if that was really a good idea.  Why?  Because creating a high performance culture in an organization is not simply a series or an accumulation of events or one–off activities.  It is much more successful and sustainable when it is a state of mind held by senior leadership and executed consistently throughout the entire organizational chart.

You can tinker, or you can transform.  Tinkering will deliver results, but they will not have much lasting value.  The impact will be temporary, and without other, regular, and congruent actions, few patterns of behavior “stick”.  If you truly want to transform an organization, the actions need to be part of a plan, a strategy, or at least a long term concerted effort.  Stated more directly, efforts to increase employee engagement are most successful when they are explicitly linked with the company’s culture.

As we work with clients we try to point out how true “transformational” change has to occur at an emotional level.  It has to register more in the “heart” than in the head.  People need to be touched in a way that the impact leaves a lasting impression.  Periodic acknowledgments or inconsistent pats on the back just don’t get the job done.  Tinkering never does.

BEST PRACTICE TIP — Tinkering is not a strategy, and the best of intentions (“I can do a few new things here and there…”) rarely leads to sustained change.  Transform — don’t just tinker!

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The following comments are for Engagient's Employee Engagement Seminar for Managers

We were trying to get the buy-in from our Management team, prior to rolling out a new Performance Review Process and move the management style away from the industrial age style in an attempt to get our employees more engaged.  For the last 45 years we have been working under the old world style of management and old habits die hard.  The Engagient seminar on Employee Engagement was exactly what we were looking to install at Perfect Plastic Printing.

Don presented the information with a passion and energy that impacted every participant.  The information presented represented the results of research and science as opposed to just one more consultant’s opinion.  This made the buy-in so much easier.  The combination of instruction and small group exercises kept the class from getting tired and kept the information geared more toward our business as opposed to generalizing information.  Don was extremely knowledgeable on the subject and this was apparent when he answered participant questions.  He kept the conversations light and humorous, but had you believing that getting your employees more engaged is crucial to surviving in business today.  The feedback from the Management team on the seminar was all positive. Don was one of the best presenters that we have experienced at Perfect Plastic Printing.

--Carl Valenti
Director of Facilities
Perfect Plastic Printing
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