12 Reasons for the Elusiveness of Employee Engagement

In 2015, and I don’t think 2017 is much different, a HCI Survey examined the top five priorities for HR groups, the results were as follows:

     1.  Employee Engagement

     2. Succession Planning

     3. Managers as a coach, Coaching Culture

     4. Performance Management

     5. Workforce Planning

There is really no question that engagement will remain a #1 concern. Recent studies have indicated that 87% of companies consider “culture and engagement” top priorities. This focus is very unlikely to change, given that most everyone recognizes that engaged, committed employees are the primary core of today’s workplace success.

12 Reasons for the Elusiveness of Employee Engagement

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Explosive Growth for Your Business in 2017

Systematic Innovationyou looking to be successful in 2017? Of course you are going to shout, HELL Yes! But my question to you is are you prepared to take advantage of it and convert you goals into actions:  Here are 6 characteristics that I suggest you digest and make part of your life and the culture of your company.

I don’t care if you are a solopreneur, small business with less than 50 people, Medium business with 51 – 200 people or larger business with 200+employees, these characteristics will apply in all cases.

  1. Strive to be the Best in the World at what you do!

This is a starting point.  So many times we start out wanting to improve a product or services because we have been unhappy with previous purchases. That means you are striving to be the best in the world.

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5 Things that Show Postitive Disruptive Thinking

TLG LogoAs a disruptive executive coach I am often asked what that entails.  I usually give them the high level response that indicates a system may be broken and we need some radical ideas of how to fix it.  There may be, however, many reasons or contradictions that seem to stand in the way of resolving the issue.  One version of disruptive thinking would be to apply TRIZ to the situation. If we follow the TRIZ idea that someone somewhere has solved the problem in some way before, all we need to do is find that solution then adapt it to our needs and make it a unique solution.

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10 Steps to Build a Relationship Capital Rich Company

Collaboration to succeed
10 Steps to build an RC focused company

All successful businesses, regardless of what they do or sell, have one thing in common: their leaders know how to build and maintain relationships. Let’s face it, relationships are the glue that holds a company culture together and ensures customer satisfaction is paramount. We can also refer to this as relationship capital, which as its name implies is an asset for your company that should be treasured, nurtured and grown.

10 steps to build a relationship capital rich company

Developing relationship capital should be a personal and intentional activity for all employees, not just the leaders. It is a known fact that people will buy from people and firms they Know, Like and Trust so when your culture is ingrained with an attitude of earning relationship capital then it is easy for other relationships to flourish.

Too often leaders get caught up in the details of the products or services they are selling to notice how critical it is to build and maintain relationships, not just with customers but also with vendors, colleagues, and even competitors. Without strong, agile, relationships, it is impossible to have a sustainable, successful enterprise.

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8 Ideas to Sustain Innovation

Marketing PlansIf you own a business today and you want it to be around for a long time, you need to spend at least 33% of your time (my number) innovating. In our hyper-connected, fast-moving world, where people expect things to get better, cheaper and more environmental friendly, sustaining innovation is your route to getting ahead of your competition.

Here are 8 suggestions that can put new vitality into your company through innovation.

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Understanding Relationship Capital Better for Your Business

I define relationship capital as “the relational reserve of credibility (Intangible Asset) measured by completed commitments that allow leaders, employees, peers, clients, vendors and regulators to talk about anything.” A “Reserve” must be built up over time so it is there when needed.  “Credibility” captures the richness, complexity, and influence that is required to create an open dialogue and that sets the stage for success. Neither RC or credibility are singular quick fixes, just additional tools that can be used to improve relationships that affect your business in a tangible way.

My definition of credibility: the quality of being believable or worthy of trust, a valued intangible asset arising from the interaction reputation of a business and its relations with its leaders, employees, customers, and vendors, distinct from the value of its stock and other tangible assets.

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Trust Drives Collaboration

I have been advocating the move to a collaborative economy for the last 3 years and while many seem to like the idea, the move to it seems to have stalled a bit. However, our rapidly changing world continues to be forcing businesses and organizations to take a new approach to what they do, i.e., collaborate.

This change is not just smart but necessary for sustainable growth.  It has been shown many times in recent history that value is being created daily through complex, technology-enabled architectures of interconnection that link people and ideas across all types of interfaces.

Leaders everywhere are asking what will it take to be part of a Collaboration Economy?

Let’s look at a few:

Hopping on Board the Collaborative Economy! 

The first step of the collaborative approach: “Recognize” – Authentic leaders need to recognize that everyone on your team should be able to step up and lead. When engaged, every person in your organization can be a source of vital ideas, observations and risk watchdogs when trusted.

There is an information processing term in psychology called “bounded rationality” that comes to play here. At its core is that we all have serious limits in our ability to process information.  None of us know everything that we want to know.  However, we don’t need to know everything if we know people who know what we don’t know. This allows us to collaborate with others by connecting with them to help us find better solutions.

Organizations can be wildly effective when they are open to using the expanded information sets that their collective membership commands – especially if they can tap and use that information when it is critical.  When this light bulb turns on the organization can be bathed in a great light of encouragement and empowerment.

The second step of the collaborative approach: “Know your People” – Each person in the organization must know as much as they can about each other’s skills and limitations, without being judgmental.  This is also where great leaders come into play because it’s most important for them to have this kind of knowledge.

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Try This One Simple Method to Achieve Your New Year’s Goals


Let me go out on a limb here. You’re probably reading this article because you’re contemplating resolutions you’re going to set for the New Year, right? You don’t have much confidence in keeping your resolutions because you’ve failed repeatedly in the past (surveys show only 8% of people keep their resolutions), so you’re looking for some game-changing advice.

Or maybe you’re thinking about the goals you’ve set for your team or organization and you’re stressed out about how you’re going to actually achieve them. If your experience is similar to mine, you’ve set goals for the year only to look back twelve months later to realize what you accomplished bears little resemblance to what you set out to do. For most of us the challenge is not in setting goals. I mean, we’ve got a ton of projects and priorities on our plates. We’ve got goals aplenty! The difficulty lies in prioritizing goals and staying on track to get them accomplished.

There’s a better way to work toward achieving your goals and it’s called the Six by Six Plan – the six most important priorities you need to accomplish over the next six weeks. It’s a method of goal prioritization and execution I learned from Bill Hybels.

It starts with asking yourself one critically important and fundamental question: What is the greatest contribution I can make to my team/organization in the next six weeks?

In answering that question, consider the decisions, initiatives, or activities for which only you can provide the energy and direction. You will likely generate dozens of items on your list that will need to be whittled down to the six that require you to take the lead in order to deliver the most impact.

There is nothing magical in having six priorities over six weeks. What’s important is having a manageable number of goals to accomplish over a relatively short time period. It needs to be a few goals that allow you to keep your energy high and a short enough time period that creates a sense of urgency. Setting big, broad goals for the year is like running a marathon. It’s too tempting to get overwhelmed, distracted, or lose energy on goals that seem so distant. It’s much easier to run a series of sprints by focusing on just a few key priorities for a short amount of time.

I think it’s important to emphasize the 6×6 method is a helpful tool for goal prioritization and execution. It’s not a way to set goals, which is an art and science unto itself. Check out this YouTube video of Bill Hybels describing the Six by Six Plan. Hopefully you’ll find it as helpful as I did.

 From Ken Blanchard’s library.

(I originally published this post on LeaderChat.org and thought the Leading with Trust audience would enjoy it as well.)

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Can Your Company be Counted On for Delivery?

How often do you think, before you make a promise or commitment to someone? Do you even think about what will happen if you can’t deliver on your word? Does it really matter? Many would say that most promises are not tied to life and death situations so you can be flexible but in my opinion, YES, they really do matter.

Today, many are very casual about making promises and commitments. I find many times, that promises and commitments are made in a knee-jerk reaction with little or no real intention of keeping them. For example, how often have you uttered these words, “Let’s do lunch,” “I’ll call you later,” or “I’ll be there in a sec”. Do you realize that these are really examples of disposable promises or commitments?  They are often made but seldom kept in real life, whether personal or in business.

Typically, when you break a promise, small or large, sirens aren’t going to go off, however, it can subtly or not so subtly damage a relationship or your reputation.  To better frame the potential, I always recommend that people think about how they feel when someone else breaks a promise to them or gets caught in a lie. Doesn’t it make you feel violated or cheated?  Often you begin to question the trust that you may have given to this person in the past.

Lies, which can often be part of a promise or commitment challenge, can be equally dangerous because getting away with a lie often traps a person into believing they’re invincible and that there is little chance of getting caught. The problem with this, like breaking promises or commitments, it can become a habit, forcing people to spend precious time and energy keeping their stories straight.

As Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

The trap: “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

So how do you avoid the casual treatment trap of promises or commitments and avoid building bad habits that bring about lies and manipulation?  Here are some ideas to help you navigate this very critical part of being authentic and transparent.

Understand that Keeping a Promise and Telling the Truth Are Liberating:

I have always held that a promise given is a commitment that must be kept. In our relativistic world, we often apply an arbitrary rating scale. In this system, we believe that breaking a big promise is inexcusable while a small one (disposable one) is acceptable.

Personally, I think that’s simply false. While breaking a big promise, such as failing to meet a project deliverable or completing an important task, can destroy a peer or customer relationship, reneging on simple promises, such as being on time, sets an atmosphere of doubt on future behavior.

Simply put, trust is built through a series of communication experiences and successful commitment deliveries shared with others. When this behavior is consistent, faith in the relationship continues to develop and strengthens. Now this is very liberating and frees you to expand and grow.

On the other hand, when promises are broken or people are misled, the bonds of trust are breached.

Broken promises or commitments often send a subtle message that the individual either didn’t think before making the promises or didn’t care if they let you down. It also sends a perception that their needs are more important than yours.

When done consistently this puts you in a negative spiral that can challenge any growth you or your company are striving to accomplish. I look at it as putting you into bondage as opposed to the liberation that comes with being authentic and transparent. So, be careful about the promises and that you make and with whom you make them.

Always Under Promise and Over Deliver

Too many times today products and services are promising astronomical results. Personally, I believe, if you can’t keep a promise, don’t make it. The same holds true for commitments of time and effort.

I highly suggest NOT using the word guarantee in any business or personal situation. For example, as a programmer, you can’t guarantee someone a program will work perfectly the first time the client uses it. However, you can show them your track record and promise them that you’ll work hard on their behalf, that provides value.

When it comes to time, you can’t guarantee that you’ll arrive in two hours, particularly if you live in an urban area, but you can promise that you’re going to leave at 10am.

Anticipate the Uncontrollable Influences

There are things that occur that are uncontrollable by us that can lead to broken promises, and generally, these are excusable. For example, when you can’t deliver something on time because of an uncontrollable event, such as a family illness, most people will understand that the lapse was unintentional and unavoidable.

On the other hand, breaking a promise or commitment by oversleeping or forgetting, will be viewed by many as intentionally missing the deadline or appointment and you’ll have to face the consequences. After all, you should be able to control your calendar & time.

Stop the Spin, Perceptions Can Be Damaging

When we distort the truth by exaggerating, spinning the truth, or withholding key facts, we definitely weaken our credibility for the future. This is often the result of short-term thinking and poor planning, both of which are, in reality, under our control.

Vin Scully once said: “Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost; for support, not illumination.”

Most the time, I believe that spin is really nothing more than lying and it comes in many forms. Some people exaggerate or stretch the truth to make something look more attractive. Others “spin the truth” by presenting “selected” facts that support their position. Withholding key facts is also lying. it’s clearly meant to deceive or manipulate and influence. Now, when you tell a lie, everything that you say in the future may be treated as suspect.

Today, as in the past, You’re often judged by the company you keep. When people cover for the spin or misinformation of others, they’re as guilty as those who created the “spin.” Remember, you are putting your own reputation and good name on the line if you cover for someone else.  Is it worth it?

Keeping Your Promises or Commitments is an Action, People Always Look Most at Actions:

Always remember that actions speak louder than words. Historically, there was a time when keeping your word held special significance.  Your word was your bond. But with the rise of self-exultation and excuses, there has been a diminishing of the popularity and reliability of this action in almost every human relationship and endeavor.

Being of good character was a thing to be proud of in the past and it needs to be revived today. Previously, personal integrity was trusted, expected and valued. During this time family was important, everyone knew each other’s family, and you wouldn’t do anything that would cast a shadow on your family’s good name. Today this has disappeared in many families.

It was also a time when integrity was instilled in kids at a very early age and was viewed as instrumental in achieving success. Schools could actually make a difference, kids would listen and respect teachers and teachers strove to inspire and excite kids. Actions & massive inaction speaks volumes in this arena today.

The real truth is, the world has changed, but the importance of integrity has not. Unfortunately, too many have expectations for everyone else demonstrate integrity but like to hide behind a shield of privacy so their integrity cannot be challenged. Politicians provide a perfect example of this behavior.


Every time you make a promise or commitment, you’re putting your integrity and honor on the line, whether you like it or not. In business, you are requesting that others place their trust in you because you value integrity and would never let them down.

It should go without saying that if you don’t live up to your promise or commitment you will wind up destroying your credibility, damaging your relationships, and tarnishing your reputation. The unseen damage is equally important, you let yourself down.

This summer we will be introducing a SaaS tool called PE-ER Solution that will allow you to ask for and give commitment requests and track the outcome for validation of performance. If you desire to really make a difference this tool will be helpful for those high visibility commitments and promises.

I would love to help you instill this in your company and make a cultural impact that demonstrates to all stakeholder that you are serious about keeping your promises and commitments. For more info, please visit my website at Transformative Leadership Group or call me to discuss at 630-454-4821.