You’ve heard it before; most transformations fail. You’ve also heard that your immediate boss has the greatest impact on your engagement. And you’ve likely heard that front line leaders have the greatest impact on your company’s results. Still more, you’ve heard that the best organizations are populated with people who are engaged, enabled, and energized, even during tumultuous times.
What we may not hear enough about is how these four statements go hand-in-hand and what to do about them: Transformation success depends on engagement, and how you manage, particularly if you are a front line leader, has the greatest impact on engagement.
So, how do you pragmatically address engagement if you are one of those critical frontline leaders who can make a dramatic difference each day in their business to both their people and to their peoples results? My take: First understand these two commonsense tenants:
1. How you connect with people, that’s to say, how you routinely manage and lead, can become more engaging.
2. And, fact two, the ecosystem needs to concurrently be addressed to ensure it works for you and your people, and not against you.
Essentially, you could be the most engaging boss in the world but if the business is filled with the noise of dirty processes, poorly maintained equipment and structures that delay decisions. People won’t give their best. Just as you could have the most pristine, state of the art infrastructure and a world-class approach to decision making, but if your manager sucks, you likely also won’t give your best. Both of these impact how effectively your business will transform, improve or just run effectively day to day. Engagement is the starting position for all of these.
When your business has leaders who manage to engage, they have both an engaging style and they also create ecosystems that allow people to do their best work. Together, you can achieve remarkable results.
So how can you pragmatically address this? Start with a new engagement scorecard, understand the right behaviors to achieve each, and then practice them routinely.
In the book Manage To Engage, I discuss a new scorecard of 2Fs and 7Cs bundled into what I call the MI9 — management innovation nine, or ‘my 9’ — the nine things that are in your control, the leaders control, at work. Here’s a glimpse into what they are:
1. Fair trade. A table-stake. Fair trade is about engaging people in a two way street — a fair days work for a fair days reward. It’s also about being fairdinkum (authentic in Australian speak),and giving people a fair go.
2. A cause. Engaging people in a reason to get out of bed!
3. Clean and meaningful infrastructure. Enabling people to be great. Not letting processes, systems or technology, wasted resources or bad policies get in the way of doing great work.
4. Confidence. Removing doubt. Energizing people — have you ever seen people try harder when they lack confidence?
5. Connection. Checking-in (not checking up!) regularly with people to earn the right to engage them in improvement.
6. Collaboration. Team work on steroids. Really enabling true collaboration and diversity of thought to enable new levels of performance. And going beyond your normal walls.
7. Community. Energizing like-minded souls together to lift one another up with new knowledge.
8. Capability. Enabling people to be great and bring their best selves to work.
9. Freedom. Energizing people to get out in front of you, lean forward, keep moving and be remarkable.
2Fs and 7Cs — a scorecard to be proud of. These are the fundamental triggers you’ll find in this book, positioned in an engagement framework based on this new scorecard — the MI-9 triggers of engagement. Packed with tools and exercises to apply immediately, the scorecard has you addressing performance improvement through the lens of engagement.
Leaders often see engagement as the outcome rather than the launchpad to build stronger ecosystems and achieve remarkable results. Manage to Engage addresses this with simple concepts. I introduce you to #HeadsUp and the HeadsUp High Five (Presence, Vision, Tech Savvy, Coaching, and Influence), behavior models like active management, and unique performance improvement tools that engage leaders at all levels in different ways of working with their teams. The tools also bring about improvement and change: 1.5.30 is one of those tools.
There was already a crisis before the pandemic. A people crisis. Most people are not engaged at work. The same one that came before economic crisis of the past and the same one that will continue if we don’t take seriously the impact we have as we manage and lead. We won’t recover with the same approaches we used coming out of previous crises. This time a radical transformation is needed. We all know people are the future. But this time we need to prove it. Not just unlocking their potential for the company’s sake but allowing people to bring their best selves to work. This demands something new of managers, something that also needs to be measured differently — something more engaging.
This book, I hope, will lead you through some suggestions on both, and help you answer the question — are you managing to engage?