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By David Harder on July, 1, 2014

Look up

I am in the midst of research for a new book about employee engagement and the findings indicate a bar set really, really low. For example Gallup’s most recent poll regarding employee engagement indicates that only 12% of the world’s workers are engaged.

Employee engagement programs routinely fail because they focus on leadership.

Engagement can only thrive by first treating it as a profit maker rather than an expense.

Engagement can only work if we create environments that hold everyone accountable for involvement, enthusiasm, wakefulness and perhaps even passion.

Sadly, the numbers indicate that disengagement is the new normal in the workplace.

The customer always loses.

We’ve become used to stories about GM workers installing defective switches that cost lives, flight attendants jacking up cabin temperatures so more passengers sleep, Veterans dying because their health needs were moved around…like numbers.

Many workers have been lulled into a trance. The “trance” typically grows around repetitive routines, fear about change and the continued quest for predictability and survival. That quest elbows aside fulfillment, enthusiasm, involvement, connectedness, reinvention and learning.

Yesterday, I was going over chapter summaries with one of my best friends – Kim Shepherd, CEO of Decision Toolbox. Kim leads one of the most innovative recruitment firms in the world.

Kim, a highly successful digital executive is an individual who sets technology aside and builds wonderful relationships.

I read a segment to Kim:

“Profoundly, most workers craved a return to predictability and survival but this quest worked directly against the need to change, reinvent and transform. Workers that thrived had high degrees of creativity and adaptability – qualities in short supply in the workplace.

The industrial revolution measured performance by the numbers; how many bolts you could plug in a hole, how many patients you could get through the door and how many dollars you made in a day.

The digital workplace tore that model asunder. Today, many of the most impacted workers demonize the “one percent.” But, they are distracting themselves from the greatest terror of all:

Virtually any form of work based on numbers is being replaced by artificial intelligence.

Consequently, much of America’s workforce stands frightened and seeking refuge in the glow of their smart phones.”

At that moment, Kim exclaimed,

“My God! You have to watch this video on YouTube called, ‘Look Up.'”

Words could never portray the impact of this film and the opportunity for all of us who choose to engage.


As always, your comments and feedback is welcomed.

All the best