What does it mean for a person to be engaged (outside of the “to be married” context)? A search on the internet; as you probably can imagine; netted a variety of responses. One intriguing to me was, “busy; occupied.” What do you think of when you hear or say “busy; occupied?” “Busy” for me triggers an image of scurrying around while “occupy” has the idea of taking up space. Based on those two aspects, employees; and for that matter, people in general; will be unable to function in an engaged capacity.
Has “busy” become one of those overused words? Nowadays where we are continually asked to do more with less; at our organizations, in our personal lives, in government; “busy” seems to be an automatic response. Has our use of the word “busy” become so honed that we are unable to discern when “busy” is an excuse? Does all the busyness create engaged employees, or people living fulfilled lives, or a benefit to anyone’s (individual or organization) bottom line? Seems productivity would be a better indicator. To be effective, or in other words, to net desired results; both in life and in business; an alignment of appropriate productive action that correlates with an identified goal is essential.
For some the issue is first determining the goals. Just because we “wish” for something or the target may be considered to be “a given” (obvious) is far from the same as knowing the goal(s). When the individuals of a team think they know the direction, the results can range from continually slightly off track to extreme chaos and everything in between. The multitude of options creates varying degrees of impact which an organization decides when to address. Keep in mind though, the longer an issue is left untended, the more frustrating, painful and costly.
For others, goals are established and known, yet without the proper focus and action of where aiming, the results only miss the mark. This is where it is critical to determine if “busy” is an excuse for the real problems that plague a person, a department, or a company as a whole. Some common underlying issues are procrastination, underdeveloped leadership or mindset skills, and low morale.
Producing different results to any degree requires a transformation, a change, a shift in the people involved in the situation. Some keys for this to occur are:
A person must truly WANT to change
Changes for or because of someone else rarely, if ever last
Commitment and persistent are required to succeed
Engagement, however, is like motivation in that the success of each is determined by the inner game of an individual. This is where the real work is required. When a person WANTS to change, does so for themselves, and is committed and persistent in the process, they are engaged. When employees are engaged, they benefit, the organization benefits, the customer benefits.
It is however crucial to note, engagement is a continual process instead of a one-time approach. That means:
A person must truly BE committed to life-long learning and skill development/improvement
Changes for, or because of, someone fizzle fast and old routines are resumed
Sustainability is only achieved when commitment and persistence become a way of operating or being. Commitment is often mistaken as compliance which is merely the act of following policy.
How engaged are you and/or your employees? What will you do now? Share your thoughts.