Welcome to leadership from the balcony. My name is Shawn Griesemer with my co-host Justin Dorroh. And each week we bring you a new leadership concept to inspire your growth and effectiveness as a leader in every area of your life.
I want my work to have meaning and purpose, not just fill my time.
People feeling like the work that they're doing is not meaningful and it's not something they connect to.
And the work of leadership from the top to the bottom is helping people see that their work matters. And when they contribute their part of the workflow into the whole, the outcomes we get really are a shared outcome.
On today's episode, we're exploring the true meaning of a shared vision. Understanding, developing, and engaging in a shared vision can propel you and your organization towards maximum engagement and the realization of its full potential.
Thanks for joining us on the balcony. We hope you enjoy peering over the railing to gain an expanded leadership perspective.
Today, we're talking about shared vision, employee engagement, this day and age, really, of the Great Resignation, or I heard somebody call it recently, the Great Reshuffle. And there's lots of questions about, are we getting past that, or is it as prolific as ever? And what's really causing it? What's behind it? I was actually doing some work researching a lot of this. I was fascinated to see that 40% of the workforce is currently looking for a new job.
It is staggering. And they say that even more are considering it, they're just not actively looking yet.
I saw another stat. I don't remember what it said, but it was talking about over the last couple years, something to the effect of 40% of people have left their jobs without another job.
Also a staggering statistic.
So it wasn't even just a matter of having left their job to go to something. They just wanted to leave their job. Well, anyway, two of the things that I saw in doing that research was one, obviously one of the top reasons people were leaving was pay. Not surprising. I think there's a lot of that, you know, even now the calling people back in and can they do the hybrid environment versus having to be in the office? But one of the second reasons was meaning. People feeling like the work that they're doing is not meaningful and it's not something they connect to, which so got me thinking back to that topic that you and I have talked about so much, shared vision. What is shared vision? What does it look like? And really, how is that impacting employee engagement?
Well, it's interesting. It reminds me of a story. We were having a conversation with a client. They were just mentioning, you know, we're losing people for a dollar an hour more at the competitor across the street.
Yeah. And one of our members of our extended team was on the call as well, and her response was years ago, she had worked in an hourly job, basically at a design center that was designing, you know, deliverables or printables for people making presentations, etc. And she loved the work. She got offered a higher paying job and she said no, because the meaning of the work that she was doing and how engaging it was for her at that time in her life, the extra dollars per hour were not that motivating. And her comment to her client was, when the market is like it is, culture is what can begin to set you apart.
That is so good.
And that just rings so true in some of the data that we're looking at.
I don't know about you, but to me, looking at research or looking at data and finding what's going on is always so interesting to me because it takes these concepts and the things that we might hear in soundbites in the news and it turns it into, what's the reality of that really look like? So, looking into that, it's hard to have data all the way up through August because we're in it, you know, but even like June, July, not knowing exactly what the resignation numbers at that point were, but March of this year set so that you're talking two years after the COVID lockdown started, two years later was the highest month on record for resignations. And it was the new high that had been, the last high was set last November, but the striking thing, so it was high in November, came down a little bit, but March was higher than February, which was higher than January. It is continuing to accelerate back up and it's now at new levels. And that one month alone, March, was the equivalent of 3% of the workforce in this country resigned in one month. This is not a case of it slowing down or going away. This is a reality that we are continuing to be in the middle of.
And I would imagine, you know, all the articles out there, COVID really did give people time to pause and reflect on what's the purpose of their life. Why do they do the thing that they do? And I think what's happening is, especially in the younger generation of the workforce, just saying, I want my work to have meaning and purpose, not just fill my time. And now with so many, like, kind of a gig economy where it is, there's just more opportunity than probably 30, 40 years ago. People don't necessarily have to have full-time W-2 job to make enough money and to find some meaning and purpose. Now, the big thing with a true organization is you get that sense of community or that sense of that safe place, hopefully, in a healthy culture, that it's more than just I'm doing work on my own and making enough money. But there's a greater sense of purpose together, collectively. And I think that's where the opportunity lies to woo people back into the workplace with healthy cultures that create meaning and create value.
So meaningful work, communities of people working together, that collective you're talking about. So that leads us to shared vision. What really is shared vision? What is it? How do you get it? What's the importance of it? This is a really odd way to set this up, I know. But I was having this thought, thinking through a presentation on shared vision. And I was like, if you have two people that are standing there and one is an absolute cat lover and one cannot stand cats and you say to the one who loves cats, hey, will you watch my cat for the weekend? They'd be like, sure. I love to watch it. Why? Because they love cats. If you ask the person who can't stand cats, will you watch my cat for the weekend? They're like, not on your life. But then you say, if I paid you a thousand dollars, will you watch my cat for the weekend? And the person's like, well, yeah, of course I'll watch a cat for a thousand dollars. There's this misnomer that people talk about all the time. I have to get buy in for this vision. And it's like it dawned on me. People don't buy into a vision. They sell out to a vision. And if their own personal vision, the cat lover was willing. Because they love cats. And they're like, this is congruent with who I am. But the person who doesn't like cats is saying, I will go opposite of what I love and what I want. What I want to see in a vision that I have, because the money was enough to pay me to do it. Right. And I was like, it's not buying into a vision. It's actually selling out to being willing to, yep, I'll do it at that price. As soon as I thought of that, I was like, oh my goodness. That takes the perspective on what is shared vision and being aligned in a much different vein. Correct.
And at some point, the price won't be enough to keep people engaged.
Leading to the disengagement. That's exactly right. That's right. When we think of shared vision, what would you say are a couple of ways that people can get into a situation of either having people join the organization with a shared vision or developing a shared vision?
I would say that at the end of the day, each member of that team has to have a sense of their personal mission. Why do they, what motivates them to show up and contribute to some environment? Right. Whether that's work, you know, their family, the civic community at large, some sense of clarity around that, which in our experience is actually not often there. People have not thought that deeply about what really motivates them to contribute to society, to a team, etc. They just do. Going with the flow. Yeah. There's a huge culture just at large of just, this is the next step. I go to school, I go to college, I get a job, and then COVID happens and all of a sudden all of the meaning and purpose of life you start to examine and evaluate in absence of just that ongoing culture of do and move.
That's a great point. The margin that it gave people, COVID, slow down and pause and every other name people gave it, it gave people an opportunity by force to have things that they were doing that gave them meaning or gave them a sense of vision that may not have been their own. All of a sudden when those things weren't there, you were left with you. And all of a sudden you went, wait, I don't know me. And I know even with the people that I coach, the number of times that people ask, or I ask them, so what is your personal mission or what, what do you have vision for? And they don't know.
And I have to ask three more questions to probe out what I'm even talking about at times. I think that pause that happened in COVID land caused people to have things that gave them identity cease to be there. And now they didn't have the identity anymore.
So, if everybody, let's say on a team has a sense of personal mission of what they really feel passionate about, then there has to be a process that that group of people goes through to define this organization we work for, or we're a part of, it could be a volunteer organization, right? This is what this organization is trying to do. And the back-and-forth dialogues where everyone's bringing their sense of meaning into that conversation, hopefully shapes a statement that gives direction and purpose towards the future that everyone can see their individual contribution within. It's broad enough to include everyone, but specific enough to actually go somewhere and do the thing that that organization is brought together to do.
So, you're saying there's a personal sense that you have to have for you. Correct. There's an organizational vision that has to be clear. So, people either in the early days, hopefully they're a part of creating that vision. But in later years, do I see my own sense of vision and meaning and purpose personally being congruent with and aligned with the organization?
That's right. Because that's where you get the alignment piece is people find that personal sense of mission within the broader vision of the organization. And then I think the work of leadership often is once that gets clarified, then it needs to be cascaded outwards from that team into every role within the organization. And the work of leadership from the top to the bottom is helping people see that their work matters. And when they contribute their part of the workflow into the whole, the outcomes we get really are a shared outcome. And if that sense of connection is had, and often I say it's the work of leadership only because leaders can often see the overarching kind of balcony view of what's happening in the organization. Whereas each individual team member may be a little bit more focused in their certain area and may not see the whole. So, that work of leadership is to articulate that so people can see it.
So, let's not miss that point. So, you're saying that it is the work of a leader to be able to know their people well enough and to get into their world enough to know what is their vision, what is their contribution, what is the thing that makes them come alive. And help that individual to see themselves as a part of the broader vision. So, the leader is helping the employees that they oversee it's like Simon Sinek always talks about, and I love this phrase, to be in charge is to care for those who are in your charge. So, it's that leader saying, this person's in my charge. I'm going to go care for them by helping them know themselves and connecting that with who the organization is so there's alignment.
I'll give a quote from a client of ours. We were doing a new manager workshop, with this large commercial construction company based in the East Coast. The senior director of talent and learning or talent development said, All of you are in this room because you have technical excellence in the work that we do. And the same level of investment and energy you put into being excellent technically, you now need to put into being excellent and managing your people.
Oh, wow. That's good!
So, your ability to understand them, to know them, to know what makes them tick, how to communicate effectively, how to solve conflict with them effectively. Really some language we use at times is learning how to lead to the one, not just a one size fits all, but I can customize my leadership based on someone's behavioral DNA and understanding what that is and how that impacts how I manage and lead them. It just struck me. I'm like, that's right. And oftentimes we reduce the people side in an organization to, oh, that's just all like the soft stuff. Well, the soft stuff, if it goes wrong, it really goes wrong, real fast. And the ability, like you said, to really understand what makes your people tick, their skill set, their vision, their role, their opportunities, and then to manage in that context is really important.
Okay, now let's look at why this matters. We've talked a few times about the book, The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. Just a wonderful book on learning organizations. If you're a leader out there and you've never read it, I would highly encourage you to read it. But he has a whole chapter on Shared Vision. And in that chapter, he talks about the different levels and behaviors that you see from people at their level of shared vision and engagement of that vision. Why don't you talk through just some of those, kind of how he broke down people's levels of engagement, what you see from them as a result of it.
So the highest level of engagement, he kind of categorizes as those called supporters. There's kind of two different buckets underneath that category. The first is people who are truly committed to the organization, the purpose, the cause, fill in the blank in terms of what you want people committed to. And the way he defines this is this is people who want it and will make it happen. They will literally create whatever policies or procedures or structures that are required to make it happen. They are so committed if Shawn was my manager and Shawn quit and I'm committed, I don't care because I care about the fulfillment of this purpose so much, I will continue to activate towards the purpose of this organization.
These are the people I even think of if the organization goes away, they'll find a new one. Or start one, to continue to do what they're doing because they are so committed to this activity, place of engagement, purpose. It doesn't matter who's doing it with them. They will do it no matter who it is. That's right.
The next level down, still very much a supporter, but not quite the same level as someone who's committed, is someone who is enrolled. And someone who is enrolled, they want it. They're going to do whatever they can within the quote/unquote spirit of the law. In other words, the committed might be willing to break the laws in order to fulfill that purpose and vision. Whereas the enrolled are going to kind of play within the boundaries, but still have a deep level of commitment to the purpose. That's right.
And then we get to this, and this is the category that is so helpful, every organization needs them, they can just be dangerous. And it's more, somebody called it the neutral group, but it's the compliant, as opposed to the committed enrolled. The real supporters. Now you have the compliant. So, what do the compliant look like?
So, the first level of compliant, the highest level is called genuinely compliant. And this kind of person, they see the benefit of the vision, and they do everything that's expected of them, and even more, you could call them like a good soldier. They're going to do what's asked of them. They're going to go above and beyond.
They may even work 50, 55 hours in a season because it's beneficial.
That's right. But again, they're not at the same level as the committed or the enrolled. The next level within the neutral category is called the formal compliant. And on the whole, they see the benefit of the vision, and they're going to do what's expected of them, but no more. So, they're not going to go beyond the job description. They're going to go to the letter of the job description. And you might call them a pretty good soldier. So, not a good soldier, they're a pretty good soldier.
Which, you probably want some of those in your business too. They are good hard workers. They're there. If they leave, you can hire and replace them. It's not like you lost one of your oh my gosh, if this person leaves, the culture gets shaken or whatever. But they're a good hard worker. That's right.
The last level of this neutral category in terms of compliance is called the begrudging compliance. And this person does not see the benefit of the vision. But they don't want to lose their job. They don't want to get fired.
So, their motivation is different. It's not vision?
What's the minimum I have to do to not get terminated?
I get a paycheck.
That's right. So, they do what's expected of them because they have to, but they're not necessarily on board.
So, they're going to take the dollar an hour more at the other business.
That's exactly right. That's exactly right. A buck more, I'm done. Right? Because I don't necessarily believe in the overall vision and purpose.
I actually heard, I don't remember if Peter Senge says it in the book, it could have been an interview somewhere else the genuinely compliant group can sometimes be the most dangerous because they perform and behave as though they are a part of that supporter group. Yep. Like they're enrolled or they're committed and you're like, this person would go to the death with us. And then all of a sudden, rubber meets the road and you're in the middle of the throws and crisis and they're like, hey, peace out, I'm gone. You're like, where'd you go? You were committed. And they're like, hmm, you thought I was committed. I was genuinely compliant, and all of a sudden, the benefit in being here did not outweigh what you're asking of me. Right. That's right.
And then the last kind of category of these different types, so we had supporters, neutral, and this last one is called the opponents. And there's kind of two subtypes within this. So, the first is the non-compliant.
Which, I think we can all understand what that would be.
Totally. They don't see the benefit of the vision and they will not do what's expected. Oftentimes, these can become kind of the toxic type people in your organization, and it might not always happen right in front of your face. It could happen kind of behind the scenes. But it's happening. It's happening somewhere. And then the last one is the apathetic. They're not for or against the vision. They have no interests. They have no energy. And a lot of times, the question going through their mind is, is it 5:00PM yet?
Yes. So, they may be toxic in only that they're just not doing anything.
That's right. They're kind of like dead weight in the environment.
Where the non-compliant actually could be a true toxic stimulus within the organization. Destroying morale. Coming against.
Like we talked about having personal mission, having organizational mission, vision, and really being able to have leaders get engaged with their people to help them discover their own sense of personal vision and mission to be able to align that well and feel themselves a part of the whole. We would really throw out there as a challenge to leaders in the next week or two, if you don't have your own sense of personal mission and vision, that is a worthy journey. There are great books out there. Find your Why. Start with Why both by Simon Sinek or what's the Daniel Pink book? Drive. He goes through some great stuff in that book. There are some great books that can help you on how to discover your own personal mission and vision and really to document it. Unearth it from within yourself, but really get it down on paper and make it something that is more tangible, so to speak. And for those that are leading organizations, if you don't have this for your organization, this is a must. You have got to be able to state with clarity for people to understand. I love what you said earlier, Justin, about it's not just what is my desire in that vision, but if you're working with a group of leaders, it's a great place for the leaders together to engage and say, hey, what's coming from all of us into that place of vision and really have it be shared at that leadership level and not just a unilateral vision. Again, because then you're asking people to buy into it, as opposed to really share in it.
I think it's helpful to say, sometimes people will say, I've done 101 different exercises of trying to create clarity around vision, mission, values of the organization. Does that stuff really matter? And let me say when it doesn't matter. When it stays on a piece of paper filed in a drawer or painted on a wall, you are totally right. It doesn't matter because it's not living. That's right. And I think what we've discovered, both in our own organization, but also in the work we do with our clients is when you bring those vision statements, those mission statements, those value statements to life, and they actually become a framework for decision making, for what types of lines of businesses are we in? Who do we hire? Who do we promote? How do we reflect the culture that we want in the way that we run meetings and the way that we handle vendors and the way that we, whatever it might be in terms of the practices of the organization, now all of a sudden this stuff has teeth to it. It's not just a nice little two-sentence statement. It's actually helping to create the seedbed of your culture.
So good. And we didn't even talk about this, but not just in the creation of shared vision, but you have to hire mindful of knowing the vision of the organization and the vision of the the personal vision of the leadership around you, to be able to say, when we hire people, did we even ask them? Hey, what is the mission statement you live by? What is the personal vision that you're going after? And if you can't find alignment in that, it's probably not the right person for you to hire.
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