Credible makes it Edible: Employee Engagement MMP #14


Employee Engagement: Monday Morning Percolator #14

The key concept from chapter four of  Made to Stick is to make your ideas “edible” by you and the idea being credible.  Employees will bite into employee engagement when they trust the message and the messenger. As a leader you need to establish and leverage trust in the name of employee engagement.

When you make your ideas tangible and concrete they become more real and more believable. A lot of credibility is in the details or story you tell — so do not neglect the vivid and specific “d-tale” of engagement.

Three specific tips in the chapter include:

  • Make statistics accessible.
  • Find a powerful example
  • Get a testable credential.

There are many statistics on employee engagement ranging from overall levels of engagement to the costs of disengagement. Find a way to communicate this to employees in a way that they can readily grasp.

Here is an example taken from a poll of 23,000 employees cited in Stephen Covey’s, The 8th Habit:

  1. Only 37 percent said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.
  2. Only 20 percent were enthusiastic about their team’s and their organization’s goals; said they have a clear link between their tasks and their team’s organizational goals; and, fully trusted the organization they worked for.
  3. Only 15 percept felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals

Stephen Covey made the idea sticky by using this soccer analogy:

If a soccer team had these same scores, only 4 of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. Only 2 of the 11 would care. Only 2 of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but 2 players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.

With this analogy Covey makes you fully realize the impact of these numbers on teamwork in a specific and credible way.

When you speak about employee engagement find powerful examples that establish credibility. Use a testable credential. Have employees conduct an engagement experiment to see what the impact is for themselves, their performance, and their organization.

Get Perking:

  1. Whenever you cite employee engagement statistics find a schema or analogy that the listeners or reader will be able to relate to.
  2. Make a testable credential offer to employees about engagement that they can try out to determine their own level of engagement.
  3. Use the Sinatra test. In the song “New York, New York,” Frank sings, If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. In employee engagement, this would mean finding a strongly disengaged team or department and igniting their engagement. If you can make employee engagement work with the disgruntled team you can make it work anywhere.

Picture Credit: England away by


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