Posts tagged engagement
Learn to Tell a Great Story

In my work as a professional speaker, I seek to weave in stories whenever possible. The reason is simple. Unlike dry, technical information, stories deliver messages direct to the heart. They deliver immediate understanding and are remembered much longer than other information.

When I use words like, “Let me tell you a story,” the audience always becomes more alert and attentive. It’s like they’re thinking, “Okay, here comes the really good stuff.”

Good stories have a power all their own. They can make complex issues understandable. They can give people a sense of community. They can call people to action in ways they never imagined.

Storytelling is not just an important skill for speakers. Now more than ever, great leaders are great storytellers. Storytelling helps executives weave rich narratives that inspire their organizations, set a vision, teach important lessons, and define the culture and values. Perhaps most importantly, stories explain who you are, how you got here, and what you believe most deeply about your work and about each other.

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How to Coach Your Team to Success

One of the biggest challenges for leaders is to create and maintain the proper conditions for worker engagement and productivity. We know that if we are to maintain high levels of workplace output and morale we need to ensure that our employees feel valued and challenged. We also recognize that if we want to be able to respond to, if not stay in front of, marketplace change we need to develop workers who are comfortable thinking independently and contributing to the collective brain trust.

Too many leaders and managers, however, fail to achieve this because they do not understand how to motivate today’s workers or how to empower them to think and act independently and more positively.

In generations past people would be told what they needed to do from their earliest years. Parents would instruct children on how to behave at home and teachers would demand student compliance in school. Failure to obey would result in corporal punishment or other heavy handed responses. In the workplace, employees would be given orders and were required to dutifully implement them if they wanted to hold their positions for any meaningful duration.

But times have changed. As younger workers make their way into the workplace, they expect to play by a different set of rules. They want to be given the freedom to experiment, a voice with which to weigh in at staff meetings and the ability to pursue what they view as meaningful, engaging work. Anything less they view as limiting, which spells dissatisfaction and, for the most part, underperformance (if not outside job seeking).

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5 Tips to Increase Workplace Engagement

The statistics about worker disengagement are staggering. We read all the time about how workplace engagement levels are low here in the U.S. and even lower around the world. Loss of productivity is estimated to cost employers hundreds of millions of dollars annually, if not billions. And it all stems from how disconnected folks feel from the people working around them, the work that they do each day, and the purpose that it serves to them and to others.

Workplace connection results in many benefits, including stronger communication, greater synergy, enhanced anticipation of others’ needs and worries / concerns, and, last but certainly not least, increased worker engagement. When we feel connected, we operate with a sense of purpose and utilize our many talents and abilities to advance that purpose, consciously as well as subconsciously.  

The need for connection at work is perhaps stronger today than ever before. It has become an expectation, especially amongst younger workers, that the workplace be a source of meaning and intention, not just a place at which to collect a paycheck.

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How NOT to show appreciation

Do your people feel valued and appreciated at work?

If you're a leader, one of the most important things you need to be doing is thinking about how can you demonstrate appreciation – that's right – appreciation for your people and what they are doing for you.

We cannot assume that just because we pay people – and often pay them really well – that that alone constitutes appreciation.

Nor can we assume that just because we don't need appreciation, which may or may not be the case, but even if we don't, that others don't as well.

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Are our phones to blame, or are we?

I used to think that our phones were making us antisocial. Go on a train or walk into a room with lots of folks and you'll see almost everyone trained on their screens. This is so disheartening. And so common. But then I see pics of folks 50-100 years ago going off to work or waiting in line, each with a newspaper open before them. No conversation. No connection. Times, they really haven't been a 'changin.

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How to Make Work More Satisfying

For many of us, a large portion of our days is spent at work. In fact, the average person will spend a total 90,000 hours – or approximately a third of their lifetime – at work.

The sad reality is that according to a recent Pew study, 30% of American workers view their days as something to get through (“just a job to get them by”) rather than a source of real satisfaction, let alone an opportunity to grow and contribute.

90,000 hours is a heck of a lot of time to burn through.

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Small Things Matter

I admit it. It’s petty. But it still bothers me. Sometimes even a lot.

My personal name, Naphtali, is biblical. (Naphtali was one of Jacob’s twelve sons.) Because the name is of Hebrew origin, there are many ways to transliterate it. And the spelling that I adopted is a bit unconventional for many in the Orthodox Jewish community to which I belong. The result is that my name is constantly misspelled, on email correspondence, invitations, and even when I am being announced to media and an organization as a keynote speaker or guest lecturer. No matter how many indicators the other side has of the way that I spell my name (email, website, LinkedIn profile, etc.), it seems as if they have deliberately chosen to ignore it in favor of their more familiar spelling.  

In most cases, I opt to remain silent. I know that no malice is intended and there is typically little impact, if any, due to the error. Inside, however, I churn a bit, not because of the spelling gaffe per se, but because of the obvious lack of care that the other individual demonstrated by making the mistake in the first place

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Making Work More Like Play

Tomorrow, I will deliver two leadership trainings based on the True Colors Personality Assessment. In this system, people are identified as being one of four colors: blue, green, gold or orange. The personalities differ from each other in many ways, including their approach to relationships and situations. For a more detailed description can be found here.

Of the different colors, I personally identify most with green. “Greens” are, among other things, less interested in connecting with others emotionally and engaging in small talk. Instead, they like to jump right in to solve problems and fix things. (Not surprisingly, this attitude can get Greens in trouble, particularly when dealing with more emotional, relationships-driven Blues. But that’s for another time.)

Greens are also independent thinkers, natural nonconformists that live life by their own set of standards. They are deeply analytical and tend to think about and do things differently than most of their peers. They love independence and eschew outside control. When applied to work, Greens are likelier than most to see their work as play, as in less drudgery and more fun, since they invest a level of themselves into their projects.

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How to foster workplace passion

It is well-documented that many folks are not passionate about their work. According to this white paper by Deloitte University Press, up to 87.7% of America’s workforce do not contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work.

At the beginning of "StrengthsFinder 2.0 "(p. ii-iii), author Tom Rath presents some equally disheartening data. He relates that Gallup had surveyed in excess of 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement. In that survey, only 1/3 strong agreed with the following statement: “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”

In a related poll of 1,000 participants, all of whom responded that they disagree or strongly disagree with the above statement (“At work…”), not a single one said that they were emotionally engaged at work.

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