Studies continue to pour in regarding the alarming levels of disengagement in the workplace. While the exact percentages vary from study to study, it is generally accepted that only one in three employees is “engaged”; one is “passive or detached”; and the third is “actively disengaged”. Stated in capital equipment terms – Of three machines: One is running consistently and capably; one is struggling to occasionally make standard; and one stumbles along far below capability. Such performance would never be accepted by a world class company. How then can we countenance the deplorable underutilization of creativity, enthusiasm and loyalty readily available to any organization, lying latent within the workforce? Better yet, how do we instill the trust required to change the dynamic from “Coerced Compliance” to “Enthusiastic Engagement”?
Boards and senior teams need to discover that the richest vein of Sustainable Competitive Advantage in any organization runs wide and deep within the hearts & minds of its workers. Competitors may outspend on advertising, assets or technology, but they cannot match the Quality, Productivity, Agility, Flexibility, and Discretionary Effort of an engaged workforce. Unfortunately for authoritarian, low-trust cultures, this energy may neither be compelled nor transacted. It is only available via the free will offering of an engaged workforce in an innovation-friendly environment. And the secret to tapping into this mother lode of “Competitive Advantage…for FREE!” lies in earning trust by practicing the habits of conscious, mindful leadership.
There are reams of data to support the superior operational and financial performance of companies that cultivate a High-Regard Culture by encouraging development of conscious, mindful leaders. Raj Sisodia talks about it at length in “Firms of Endearment” and Industry Week magazine’s “Best Plants” profile data exemplifies such companies in their annual competition…and has been doing so for over 20 years.!