Do Destiny and Management Mix?
I was in Dallas this week speaking at an internal meeting at a large corporation. The session was on “Employee Engagement in the Real World,” and during the session I was talking about how Maddie and I define “deep success.”
One of the core arguments in our latest book is that employee engagement is ultimately driven by people being successful in the workplace (not being happy or satisfied). But I always have to clarify that success isn’t just doing an okay job and not getting fired. Deep success has three levels:
- Organizational: you need to know that the work you’re doing is contributing to a successful enterprise. If you find yourself on a sinking ship (think Kodak, as it was ignoring the digital camera revolution), then your engagement is definitely going to wane.
- Job/Role: you also need to be set up for success in your role. Many organizations have cultures that mess with employee success (e.g., silos that make it hard to get the information you need to do your job), and that hurts engagement.
- Individual: and you need to be successful as a human. There should be an alignment between the job you’re doing and your own personal destiny.
That last word usually catches people. Sometimes they push back that it shouldn’t be the job of management to manage their employees’ destiny. Fair enough, I’ll take responsibility for managing my own destiny, but think of it this way: imagine how powerful your employees would be if you took the time to try and redesign things to be compatible with (or even supportive of) their destinies? There’s real power there, and we’re mostly ignoring it.
This was only one small part of my talk, but I was pleased to see that it was the first thing that several people commented on in the session after mine. Unlocking potential in your workforce is probably going to be a whole lot easier if you actually start to focus on the employees, rather than on management in general.
(Note: I post reflections/insights from my speaking work here, but don't miss my other blog posts on culture and engagement over at the Human Workplaces blog)