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3 Indicators of a “Culture of Engagement”


Many organizations work hard to have the “appearance of” an engaged culture. On the other hand, few organizations work diligently at crafting and creating a true “culture of engagement.”

The latter and the former are very different.

A “culture of engagement” is an organizational “state of being.” This state does not occur randomly, rather it is the result of diligent and persistent leadership, from leaders at all organizational tiers, who remain focused on creating, crafting and managing the culture.

When it Starts

A “culture of engagement” is built on a firm understanding of “why” the organization exists. This is accompanied by a thorough understanding of “what” the organization does.  Further, is grounded in behaviors that communicate a complete understanding of "how" the organization's “why” acts in tandem the organization's  “what” (and vice versa).

A “culture of engagement” begins when an organization has a clear and meaningful vision, an action-based mission that is congruent to the vision, and set of comprehensive core values providing guidance and expectations specific to organizational behavior. This all functions as an internal ethos or organizational compass.

When is Stalls

For most organizations, it stalls immediately after the parameters (why, what, vision, mission, core values etc.) are defined. Unless the ideals are carefully tended to and continually developed, they eventually become statements that are just hanging on a wall or occupy the front page of the employee handbook. They may be frequently mentioned but are rarely, if ever, used in organizational decision making and developing strategy for organizational trajectory. Further, they are seldom tied to organizational behavior.

When it Happens

A culture of engagement moves beyond the "buzzwords" of why, what, vision, mission, core values etc. when the organization's "high ideals" are truly utilized as a road map for all aspects of the organization. These "high ideals" and behaviors are talked about, acted upon, and continuously tied in to the goals, objectives and trajectory of the organization. This is "when and where" organizational leadership is the most the critical. Leaders must remain focused on keeping organizational participants “engaged” with the baseline values of the organization.  Further, leaders must ensure organizational behavior matches the organization's values and beliefs.

You will know if you are in a “culture of engagement” as the organizational participants (employees, volunteers, executives, consumers, students, teachers, etc.) have been effectively led to personally and professionally “engage” with the organization’s "high ideals" and expectations.

When a true “culture of engagement” is established, the following three outcomes are grossly evident:

1. Understanding of Core Values

Organizational participants possess a deep understanding of the organization's core values. Further, they confirm their individual understanding by behaving with clear alignment to the organization's values.

2. Articulation of High Ideals

Organizational participants can easily, clearly and meaningfully articulate their personal understanding of the organization’s high ideals. Further, they apply their understandings directly to their job performance, engagement with their peers, and to engagement of the organization’s consumers or end users. All of this occurs while maintaining - not sacrificing - the organization’s values and high ideals.  It is articulated through actions and behaviors.

3. Behavior Aligns to High Ideas and Core Values

Organizational participants know the “why and what” of the organization. Further, they behave in alignment with the “greater purpose" and the “greater action" of the organization. They clearly communicate the organization's "story” in both word and deed with pinpoint precision.

Take Away

These three indicators are outcomes of a well-defined, tactically-executed, and behavior-based leadership strategy centered on the “mindset” of engaging organizational participants with organizational philosophy. The result is an organizational mindset which transforms into organizational behavior resulting in effective, authentic and meaningful engagement within all aspects of the organization.

Failing to understand the value of a "culture of engagement"  and its overall impact on "what" you do may slow personal and organizational success and growth.

As always – if you would like to learn more about this topic - or - book me to speak with your organization, operators are standing by!

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