Does employee engagement have an impact?
Last week’s Business Reporter, distributed with the Sunday Telegraph, featured a special report on Strategy Execution to which I made a small contribution in the form of a few thoughts on the question “Why do strategies fail?” On reading the whole report I thought I might add a little more for this blog.
In his Opening Shots to the discussion René Carayol makes the interesting point that in the last three years, an average of just 56% of strategic initiatives have been successfully delivered. He goes on to suggest that culture is one of the keys to effective strategy execution and advises companies to remove the limitations of hierarchy and status and start pulling everyone together.
This touched on the theme of my own piece – effective strategy execution needs employee buy-in and commitment over time – and made me think of an article by Rosabeth Moss Kanter which appeared in the Harvard Business Review earlier this year. In that article Moss Kanter describes the happiest people she knows as those who are dedicated to dealing with some of the most daunting problems the world has to offer, and who face those challenges with the conviction that they can do something about them. Happiness, she says, comes from the feeling that they are making a difference, and she goes on to say that she sees the same spirit in business teams creating new initiatives that they believe in.
This ties in with our experiences at Digital Opinion. When we’ve asked people to think about a time in which they felt fully engaged, and to recall the circumstances and feelings they very often talk about being seconded to a small team set up to solve a specific difficult problem. The feelings they describe are:
- A sense of ownership and responsibility
- Feeling part of a cohesive team united by a common, clearly defined goal
- A shared belief in the goal and how its achievement would benefit the broader organisation.
These feelings mirror almost exactly the three primary sources of motivation that Moss
Kanter has identified: mastery, membership, and meaning.
So perhaps the real key to effective strategy execution is to adopt a small-team, bottom-up, project-based approach which harnesses those motivators. It’s the approach we take in helping businesses to raise engagement. Both are about giving people stretching goals, real responsibility and a sense of meaning and involvement. It’s a way of engaging people while at the same time finding innovative solutions to difficult challenges.
Click here for my article on “Why strategies fail”
Click here for the full report