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By David Harder on October, 19, 2017

Why We Declared War on Disengagement

Gallup’s latest global engagement survey indicates that only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged.


The problem of disengagement is so vast that it is far more than a vexing business problem, it is a tragedy that inhabits our homes, schools, roads, families, and daily routines. Disengagement doesn’t imply slow. We see disengagement in the frenzied pace of modern life, people filling their moments with stuff, tasks, devices, texts, and e-mails. In Los Angeles, we dodge disengagement in traffic every day. We find the trance in the aimlessness of lives without personalized vision, mission, and purpose. We experience the symptoms in the ugly outbursts from social media because picking on others is far more comforting than encountering emptiness, a lack of meaning, and of purpose. Anger seems easier.


I am at war with disengagement.


The workplace is a good place to launch the attack because work, from a time perspective, represents our biggest relationship. Time and time again, I find that if we settle for a mediocre relationship with our work, that experience carries over into every other aspect of our lives. The trance becomes our silent companion. The trance impacts everyone around us.




Disengagement is going through the motions without thinking of motion’s consequences.


In 1990, we opened the doors to a program that has changed thousands of lives. The work has given me the opportunity to observe many, many people successfully break away from stagnant and unfulfilling work and progress to a personalized and practical ideal – alive, meaningful, and buoyant. As a result, I know that people can change – dramatically. And, they can change in very short periods of time. In our world the breakthroughs begin through skilled self-inquiry. Why? Because everything that we need in order to be fulfilled is already inside of us.


Most people living in the world of disengagement don’t believe they can change. We are now living in the prophecies of the late Alvin Toffler, our greatest futurist. He told us that after the turn of the century, the rate of change would accelerate with such growing force that most people would settle into a state of “future shock.” He characterized this state as “trying to absorb too much change in too short a period of time.” The security and predictability established by industrial age jobs conditioned to associate change with pain. Consequently, the very skills that help us change are often rejected. In 2017, some of us have not only learned how to change, we have realized that skilled change allows us to experience more as humans than we ever could have conceived. The vastly different payoff from living the modern life is growth. For those of us coming from a world of sameness, is that a booby prize? Not at all. Today, we derive our security from growth. Today, we can grow so quickly we can fluidly move into entirely new categories of work. What was meaningful to us just a few years ago is now replaced by incredible new learning opportunities. This is the life for those of us who develop creativity and adapatibility in our lives.


The rest are hanging on for dear life. They stand like deer in the glow of their smartphones. Clocking in and clocking out. Many “flying below the radar” and angry the career they chose is giving lower and lower returns. In some cases, the trance is so deep some tell their kids to go get “a real job” just like the ones they hated. Their deeply misinformed fear of change shields them from opportunities via cynicism and sometimes even contempt. As change marches on more quickly each day, many settle for underemployment.


This is why I am at war with disengagement.


If you are in an organization having difficulty with disengagement, don’t issue yet another employee survey. Learn how to change. Teach others how to do it.


Because anyone who takes the initiative to learn how to change can also learn how to engage.


Until we teach everyone how to change, how will they possibly engage?


Disengagement, as it stands, is killing what is possible for our economy, our culture, and our future.


Once again, disengagement is more than a business problem.


For those of us who’ve developed any sort of mastery around change, it is time to consider how you can help others. Many of our sisters and brothers are impacted and in many cases swept away by change. They need our help. Mentor and support others to become engaged with their work, their lives, and with you.


Engage with yourself. Engage with the world. Engage with others. This is the act of war.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work Services, Inc.

(C) Copyright, 2017, Inspired Work, Inc. – (All Rights Reserved)

If you would like to discuss your workplace or your career with David Harder, schedule fifteen-minutes Here.