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Beyond engagement Breaking rules and winning hearts are leadership essentials


Hervé Coyco, Roger Hallowell & Randall White illustration

Ben O’Brien

The notion that an engaged workforce unleashes both productivity and higher quality is generally accepted wisdom. However, few organizations have broken through conventional engagement to achieve what we call ‘deep engagement’. Deep engagement is a state in which individuals have a sincere and deep emotional attachment to their work and their organization. We see two situations in which organizations create deep engagement. The first situation is driven by the individual. A chef at a restaurant with a Michelin star lives to cook and can make his dreams become reality. An engineer at Porsche lives for sports cars and can apply her talents to mastering her craft surrounded by likeminded, equally passionate engineers.

The second situation is driven by leadership. This form of deep engagement occurs when individuals know that they are cared about as a person first, and as a vehicle to accomplish work second. This remains a rare achievement and, as such, has the potential to contribute to competitive advantage. It may also be particularly important in today’s Vuca (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, in which uncertainty and ambiguity are high, and risk-taking fundamentally important. Why should individuals have the courage to make mistakes, unless they know they are cared for as individuals by their leadership? Why isn’t deep engagement being adopted? We believe two principles – missing at most

Dialogue Q1 2018

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Dialogue Q1 2018  
Dialogue Q1 2018