An extensive study done by the Gallup organization, recently published in the book Twelve: The Elements of Great Managing, reports that “Teams in the top engaged quartile are three times more likely to succeed as those in the bottom quartile, averaging 18% higher productivity and 12% higher profitability.”
Effective leaders know that employees are far more likely to be engaged and accountable for things they understand and help create. Leaders can make an enormous contribution toward promoting widespread engagement and personal accountability in three ways:
- Actively distributing literacy about the business (creating transparency how the business works and helping people understand it through daily conversations)
- Involving employees in choice and decision-making (they are closest to the customers and markets)
- Developing collaboration and teamwork (through by emphasizing accountability for the success of the whole)
Being clear on your intentions as a leader, living those intentions out, and using conversations for disclosure and engagement are the first steps toward transforming an organizational culture. Want to take your leadership to the next level? Recognize that systemic performance is a major driver of results.
Focus on the “system” can be done quickly be examining (and changing if necessary) two key organizational elements:
Methods of deliberation — This is where strategy is developed, decisions are made and the future is determined. In most organizations, meetings revolve around function, department and/or hierarchy. Attending to “systemic deliberation” means looking at the whole and ensuring that a microcosm of the system is in the room to deliberate issues and make decisions. This allows the system to regularly “talk to itself” and becomes a natural process of doing business.
Management practices — Typically these are created to support hierarchy and compliance. At best, this maximizes the individual parts of the whole. Accountability and interdependency come into sharp focus when attention is paid to the space where the parts interact. Moving toward employee and system engagement means creating practices that support interdependency, collaboration and cohesiveness. Budget allocation and administration, performance management, customer and supplier relationship management are a few examples of practices that, when redesigned for employee engagement, have a powerful positive effect on results.