You Can’t Afford the Luxury of Disengaged Employees

In today’s business environment with increases in staff reductions and rapidly changing roles and responsibilities, it is crucial that all of your team members be fully engaged in the tasks at hand. According to a Gallup survey, 350 billion dollars are lost each year in American companies due to disengaged employees. How then do you minimize the impact of this costly problem within your organization? Below are key strategies to help you grow your people toward peak performance and enable you to produce quantum results with your team.

Own your outcome

All too often employees are quick to blame circumstances the economy or a host of other causes for their less than stellar outcomes in a given situation. Only by taking personal responsibility for our outcomes and performance can we take back our power and create the results we desire. It’s quit simple, if the problem is being caused by the economy; I am powerless to affect it. If, on the other hand, I am willing to take personal responsibility for it, I have reclaimed my power and am in a position to impact change.

Make integrity a must

This is not an option. The only way companies will survive and thrive into the future is by making integrity an absolute must throughout the organization. No longer can people skate by with questionable behavior and slippery deals. The time has come for each person to be honest and truthful in all situations regardless of the outcome. The cliché “honesty is the best policy” became a cliché for a good reason, it works! However, in order to create this environment of absolute honesty and integrity, you as a manager must be willing to allow people to make mistakes and it must be okay to mess-up once in a while without fear of repercussion.

Challenge people’s limiting beliefs

It is important for your people to understand the role their conscious and unconscious beliefs play in their ability to produce desirable outcomes. They must understand how every thought, action, and result is directly linked to their beliefs. By first identifying people’s limiting beliefs, a person can begin to replace them with more resourceful empowering beliefs, which will then enable them to create the results they desire. For example, a belief that “I am not comfortable calling on ‘C’ level executives” can be shifted to one that feels better and is more empowering, like “While I am not totally at ease, I have a strong support team backing me up.” While this is not a fully empowering belief, it is a small step in the right direction. These “bridge beliefs” shift the person’s beliefs more toward the desired, empowered belief.

Link Values to Behaviors

Identifying a person’s high driving values and helping them understand the role these values play in their productivity and satisfaction can go a long way toward achieving peak performance. A simple question like, “What’s most important to you in your work?” will generally elicit the person’s number one driving value. Continuing with questions like, “What else is important?” etc., will enable you to uncover the person’s high driving four or five values. Knowing this will help you better match specific assignments to individuals, understand how to better motivate people, and result in more harmony among your team members. For example, a team member who lists “freedom” as a high driving value will be the ideal person to assign a task that can be done from a home office, while the person with “contribution” as a high driver will be well suited for a team project. Understanding your team’s values will help you determine assignments and enable you to get the most productivity from team members while maintaining harmony throughout the organization.

Create a compelling vision

Many times an individual sees an overall vision for their role on a project that is out of alignment with that of the manager or the company. Often, the individual has beliefs about their ability to fulfill their function within this vision. By completing a visioning exercise in which you will, as a group, create the overall vision, you’ll be in a position to establish specific individual goals for it’s accomplishment. During this process you will uncover each person’s apprehensions and limiting beliefs about their ability to accomplish the task at hand. By completing this exercise together, you are in a position to address their concerns. The result of this visioning exercise, if done properly, is a fully aligned team, holding the same overall vision, and having each member understand their role in its accomplishment. This will, naturally, lead to the next and final step in our process: strategies and inspired action.

Strategies and Action (or don’t be a gerbil)

Don’t be a gerbil. Not that there is anything wrong with gerbils, they’re quit cute, however not the ideal role model when it comes to achieving results in business. Unfortunately, too many people in business today are behaving like gerbils when it comes to their actions. They are taking action for the sake of action — “gerbil action” — and confusing activity with results. This is even more evident in sales organizations where individual sales people frantically call prospect after prospect, achieving little in terms of results and burning through territories faster than a California wildfire. This kind of unfocused action does nothing more than frustrate people and contributes to the high employee turnover we see in so many companies.

A better way is to employ “inspired action.” Inspired action is action that is created from a clear vision of the desired result. It engages the higher portions of our mind to create more focused, synchronistic action, producing quantum results.

A simple way to develop more inspired action is to begin with a valued finding question like, “What’s working?” When was the last time you heard this question at a company meeting? By shifting the group’s focus from problem finding to value finding, you encourage inspired actions based on successes. It is a commonly accepted psychological fact that we attract more of what we focus on. By keeping the focus on what is right or working in a given situation, our creative energies and minds will be drawn to more of the same.


After overcoming his personal challenges, Jim Donovan began writing and working in the field of human performance in 1987. Having first applied the techniques and principles he teaches in his own life, he has risen to a position of international respect and recognition. He is now a professional, inspirational speaker, frequent talk show guest, and has authored several books, including Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck, This Is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal, and Handbook to a Happier Life. Visit his website at and subscribe to Jim’s Jems, an

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