Monthly Archives: June 2007

Feedforward: The Gold of Marshall Goldsmith (MMP#18)

Employee Engagement: Monday Morning Percolator #18

How about a short video with your Monday morning coffee?

Could you use a little help in getting higher levels of engagement at work? Does feedback trap you to the past and give you little idea about what to do next?

I encourage you to watch this 4 minute video of Marshall Goldsmith, one of the top leadership coaches, present on getting instant coaching. Not only will you get some coaching from Marshall he will show you how to solicit feedforward from others to move ahead. He has done this with thousand of participants in leadership coaching.

Marshall Goldsmith has such a caring and articulate way of presenting his top coaching concepts. Goldsmith adds some good rules to the exercise – such as let go of the past and develop ideas of the future without judging or critiquing the ideas.

You don’t get everything on this video but it is a start in understanding some of the contributions that Goldsmith makes that can make a difference in your level of work and employee engagement.

If you are intrigued by what you saw I encourage you to visit Goldsmith’s free library of resources. There are articles, videos, podcasts – a virtual plethora of resources you can use to develop your leadership, performance, and engagement.

A special thanks to Phil Gerbyshak for his ever watchful eye in spotting resources and helpful information to Make It Great!

The Practice of Leadership – Employee Engagement (MMP #17)


Employee Engagement: Monday Morning Percolator #17

Today, I have the honor of featuring George Ambler and his leadership blog. George Ambler writes an insightful leadership blog – The Practice of Leadership: It’s only in the practice of leadership that we influence our world…

He has written a number of excellent short articles on employee engagement.

George summarized a study from PeopleMetrics:

creating emotional connections to employees is what truly matters because this is where organizations can dramatically boost employee productivity and business outcomes….. Building an emotional bond with employees, … requires organizations to create a ‘sense of meaning and purpose’ among employees by connecting them to the ‘higher vision and purpose’ of the organization…. Equally, organizations need to build trust and confidence through regular dialogue with managers and senior leadership as well as celebrating successes, having fun and showing individual appreciation.

In addition, the study of 5,095 workers, across the United States found

  • that Fortune 500 companies in the lowest quartile in profitability had 50% fewer engaged employees compared to those in the top quartile.
  • high performing employees were twice as engaged as their lower performing counterparts

Kate Feather, PeopleMetrics Executive Vice President gave love and passion for one’s organization wings:

the concept of feeling love or pasion for one’s company is gaining ground because a passionately engaged workforce is becoming an important differentiator in the marketplace.

Get Engaged:

  1. Click here to read 5 of George Ambler’s other employee engagement blog posts. If you read the Monday Morning Percolator on Monday you could read one of George’s post every other day during the week.
  2. Make the connection with your employees and offer a valuable vision and purpose for the organization that they can connect with. Ask them to tell you what the vision and purpose is to see how well they understand what your organization is doing and why it is doing it.
  3. Maintain constant and never ending dialogue with the people you work with. Celebrate success, have fun and voice individual appreciation.

Picture credit: Zen rock garden Portland Oregon by

ZENgagement: Take a look in 4 Steps


How close are you looking at employee engagement?

Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them ~ Alan Watts

Here are your 4 steps to look at employee engagement:

  1. Take a good look at your own engagement.
  2. Take a close look at the engagment of others you work with.
  3. Take a look for what can help you become more fully engaged.
  4. Look at what you can do for others to foster their engagement.

Picture Credit: telescoping Paris by

Employee Engagement: Engage with Stories (MMP#16)


Employee Engagement: Monday Morning Percolator #16

by David Zinger

Stories engage us and we can foster engagement with stories. This is the final of 6 reviews about the book: Made to Stick. Make your ideas sticky by making them simple, unexpected, concrete, credible and emotional as you communicate your ideas within stories.

Stories are a way to embrace the principles of Made to Stick. They are concrete, they often have both unexpected and emotional elements, they can be simple. You might not even have to create a story. You may just need to take some time to spot the stories that come out of experiences.

Take this quick memory test:

  1. What do you remember about the story of the 3 little pigs?
  2. What is the plot of the tortoise and the hare?
  3. What is your organization’s strategic plan?
  4. What percentage of your employees are fully engaged at work?

Chances are you will remember stories better than facts and figures. Do you also remember to use stories to make your ideas stick? Stories are the glue that holds listener to speaker and reader to writer.

The power of story is

it provides simulation (knowledge about how to act) and inspiration (motivation to act)…a credible idea makes people believe. An emotional idea makes people care…the right stories make people act.

For example the authors cite the use of Jared’s inspirational story as a spokesperson for Subway. His story mobilized people to eat at Subway after Jared lost so much weight from his original 425 pounds after eating only Subway food for a year. It took some perceptive people within the Subway organization to spot the power of this story and to recognize the value and stickiness of the story.

… springboard stories mobilize people to act. Stories focus people on potential solutions. Telling stories with visible goals and barriers shifts the audience into a problem-solving mode.

There are 3 main structures that create effective stories. When you are trying to spot stories to foster engagement look for stories that have the themes of overcoming challenges, making connections or creative development. A really good  story might have all three themes woven into the telling.

To start filming a movie a director may shout: lights, camera, action! Use engagement stories and engaging stories to enlighten, help people get the picture, and create action to move into high levels of employee engagement.

Marcus Buckingham, a leader in the strengths approach to work, has a 6 part DVD series about putting our strengths to work: Trombone Player Wanted

Buckingham is a skilled speaker, the strength focus is vital for employee engagement, yet what adds stickiness to the 6 videos is the use of a story involving a young boy who is stuck playing the trombone in the school band yet really wants to be a percussionist. By the end of the final video, the boy has found someone else who loves the trombone to take his place and he is drumming with delight. The story in relationship to strengths development embraced challenge, connection and creativity. The school band subplot demonstrated that it wasn’t easy, it was important, and if a young boy can do this than any of us who are disengaged at work can make moves to foster much richer levels of employee engagement.


Added bonus to the Monday Morning Percolator:  If you would like to read David Zinger’s 18 page free booklet on the videos with suggestions for action click on the following link to a PDF E-booklet .

Trombone Player Wanted – Free E-Booklet.


Get Perking:

  1. Uncover the stories of your workplace or life that can be shared to mobilize others into engaged action.
  2. If you are going to make a major presentation on employee engagement try ditching the PowerPoint slides and hitching your message to 3 or 4 powerful stories that create a real power point of engagement between you and the audience.
  3. When you spot a good story develop a method to keep track of it for later use. This can be as simple as creating a document, call it stories, and everytime you encounter an experience that would make a good story put a few key words and perhaps a title in the document to remind you of the story. If you don’t track your stories you can easily lose that you could use. Review the document when you are looking for a good story to make employee engagement sticky and to mobilize actions.

Picture credit: gluey harmony by