The single cause of Employee Engagement

In Change, Creativity, Inner Performance

I was reading an article by Craig Smith and it seems that only 13% of workers like their work. And it’s getting worse, despite all the talk about employee engagement.

It’s very common to see a “logic” in this research by looking at the effects, and then assume by applying the effects hoping to get a change.  It’s how all change management work assumes change happens, which probably explains why nearly 70% of change management programmes fail to deliver their expected results.

Sadly, we don’t work that way, although it’s very common and compelling to confuse a correlation with cause and effect.  Correlations are just fun and interesting connections.  Cause and effect only works one way.

It seems that productive people do a bunch of stuff, so where does that productivity really come from?  What’s the single universal cause for all of these?

Well, how we operate is really simple.  We think, then feel then act.  Coming from clear thinking, we feel clear and act productively.  Coming from stressed/anxious thinking, we feel stressed and anxious and act so.

Very simple, and explains 100% of the effects listed in the research.

This only works one way, which explains why trying to reverse engineer this in the mistaken belief that by acting (behaviour) changes how people feel, changes their thinking and gets the unpredictable and inconsistent results people experience.  And the response? More trying to change behaviour, by changing behaviour.

When people have an understanding of how they operate (how they think, feel, act), as a consequence they naturally…

  1. create regular time for creative or strategic thinking
  2. focus on one thing at a time…if that makes sense to them
  3. find opportunities to do what is most enjoyed
  4. find meaning and significance in their work, whatever the task in hand
  5. connect to the mission

If you want to engage employees, start with the cause, and the effects are a natural consequence.  Pick this up and you will have the most amazing invisible competitive advantage.

We only work one way.


My latest book The Drunkards Search – the entire human experience explained is published on Amazon at the beginning of July

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