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Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

The Dilemma

The future of your organization and the potential of your employees are intertwined; their destinies are linked.

An organization can only become the best version of itself to the extent that the people who drive the organization are striving to become best versions of themselves.   This is universally true when the organization is a business, a school, government, a not-for-profit, or a sports team.  To the extent that a CEO, an executive team, and a group of managers and employees explore their potential as individuals, so too will an organization explore its potential.

The problem is, the great majority of people in the workplace today are actively disengaged.  This is the dilemma that modern managers face.  To varying extents, people will feel connected to their work, the organization they work in, or the people they work with.  No single factor is affecting morale, efficiency, productivity, sustainable growth, customer intimacy, and profitability more than this disengagement.

Disengagement.  Is an employee 85 percent engaged?  60 percent engaged?  50 percent engaged?  Or worst of all, and have decided to “quit and stay”?  You do the math.  What does your payroll amounts to?  If on average your employees are 75 percent engaged, this engagement is costing you 25% of your payroll every month in productivity alone.  The real cost to your business is of course much higher when you take into account how disengaged employees negatively affect your customers and every aspect of your business.

It has been almost 40 years since Peter Drucker observed a single greatest error and deception of our accounting system: people are placed in the liability column on the balance sheet.  Machinery and computers are categorized as assets and people as liabilities.  The reality, of course, is that the right people are an organizations greatest asset.  We have acknowledged this truth in theory, but we all have not allowed it to sufficiently penetrate the way we manage our organizations, and indeed the way we manage the people who drive them.

It’s not that we don’t want to engage the people who work with us and for us.  In most cases it seems that we simply have not found a practical, efficient, and affordable way to do it.

If the Dream Manager  concept  provide the revolutionary way of revising  this crippling trend toward disengagement and demonstrates how organizations large and small can actively engage their people once again, thus creating a competitive advantage of a monumental proportions.

In the past companies have battled over price, quality, quantity, customer service, operational excellence, and product leadership.  In the coming decades, we will witness the next great corporate battle - the war for talent.  The battle may seem to be raging already to some, but in truth is only just beginning.

Business Week reports that,  over the next  ten years, 21% of top managers in 24% of all management jobs across all functions, regions, in industries will become vacant.  Addition to this trend an aging population, a shrinking workforce, a growing intolerance for the  illegal immigrant population that provides much of the unskilled labor in the United States today, and you have a talent and labor crisis of enormous consequences across all disciplines from the highly-skilled to the completely unskilled.

But it is not enough simply to hire the right people.  The ability to attract, engage, and retain talent will be the number one strategic objective of every successful modern leader and organization.

If football coach’s number one priority is to attract, develop, nurture, organize, and motivate the franchise’s talent.  Coaches and team owners are intimately aware of its future success of their organization depends on the talent they attract, engage, and retain.  Finding and nurturing talent is their number one priority.  Why should the priorities of a CEO or manager be any different?

A company’s purpose is to become the best version of itself.

The next question is: What is the employee’s purpose?  Most would say “to help the companies achieve its purpose”, but they would be wrong.  This is certainly part of employee’s role, but an employee’s purpose is to become the best version of himself or herself.  Contrary to unwritten management theory and popular practice, people do not exist for the company.  When a company forgets that it exists to serve its customers, it quickly goes out of business.  Our employees are our first customers, and our most influential customers.

A person’s purpose is to become the best version of himself or herself.  Finding a way to create a an environment that helps employees become the best version of themselves, while at the same time moving the company  towards the best version of itself, may seem impossible to many, to others may seem diametrically opposed; but in reality, they are astonishingly complementary.

This is a story of how one leader and his executive team set out to transform a business by actively engaging a disengaged workforce.

The secret revealed in the story unveils the very core of what drives us as human beings, not only at work, but in the arena of our lives.  So whether you are the CEO of a large corporation or leader of a small department, the principles of a school or football coach, appeared to grappling with the dynamics of teamwork within your family or an employee just looking to make sense of work you do every day…. you are about to discover something that will change your life forever.






A New Breed of Loyalty

There are many who say that loyalty in the corporate world is dead forever.  I could not disagree more with them.  The kind of corporate loyalty  that was based on hanging around for a certain number of years in order to get a pension and benefits from rest your life may be dead, but I think that both employees and employers are better off that it is.  It wasn’t good for people or companies then, and it isn’t good for people and companies now.  I do, however, believe the corporate world desperately needs to foster and encourage a new and more evolved form of corporate loyalty. 

This new breed of loyalty will build on the principles of adding value.  An employee is responsible for adding value to a life of a company, and a company is responsible for adding value to life of an employee.  This is the great unspoken contract that exists between all employees and employers.

A new breed of corporate loyalty is both possible and necessary.  We simply need to change our expectations.  No company can keep an employer that doesn’t add value and help their companies become the best version of itself.  Simple economics demands that such an employee cannot remain.  At the same time, company cannot reasonably expect an employee to be loyal,  if that company’s demands and expectations consistently lead an employee to become a lesser version of himself or herself.

The new breed of loyalty will be based upon an understanding between employees and companies of one another’s purpose - to become the best version of themselves.   Some may scoff and beg this conversation to return to reality - but consider the company that find themselves on Fortune’s elite list of the best companies to work for.  Of course they strive for and achieve better than average profits, but if you glance down list of criteria, you’ll discover a list of company initiatives that, directly or indirectly, help employees become better versions of themselves. These companies believe that if they help their employees become better version of themselves the company will necessarily become a better version of itself.

Walks through the hallways of these companies and you will see a highly evolved form of corporate loyalty emerging.  These companies understand if they help their employees achieve their purpose as  individuals, the employees will in turn be more passionate  about helping the corporation achieve its purpose and goals.  Both sides recognize of the company has to make a profit in order to continue, and both sides are willing to commit to the pursuit of that profit.

The new breed of corporate loyalty is the clay from which a highly evolved and cohesive type of team can be built and managed.  The “us versus them” mentality that has been fostered for hundreds of years in the workplace desperately needs replaced by a spirit of dynamic collaboration.  This level of collaboration can only be achieved when both managers and employees are convinced that each others’ best interests in mind.

A managers’ role is to organize employee effort for the attainment of an organization’s goals and purpose.  In the past managers have relied heavily on the stick and the carrot. Now’s it is time to discover the awesome effectiveness of management by dreams

.By Matthew Kelly

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