Tuesday, April 17, 2018

State of the Workforce Gallup Study: Medicine to Make America Great Again

This past week I've been reading another great book on leadership. It's called Eleven Rings, by Phil Jackson. Subtitled The Soul of Success, Jackson has earned the right to speak about what it takes to produce successful teams. His first Championship Ring was as a player. The next ten were earned by applying an underlying philosophy that incorporated insights from experience as well as an eclectic mix of spiritual disciplines including Buddhism, Christianity, Chinese philosophy and Lakota Sioux. 

In chapter one he references a book that I was introduced to in late 2016, Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright. Jackson succinctly lays out the five stages of organizations, including sports organizations and other kinds of businesses.

Stage 1 is characterized by despair, hostility and a collective belief that "life sucks." It's pretty much the nature of street gangs, Jackson explains.

Stage 2 is characterized by apathy, people who see themselves as victims. They are a little better than stage one because they aren't saying "life sucks" but rather, "My life sucks." Meaning, this toxic situation I am in at this moment in time is not good.

Stage 3 is comprised of people who believe themselves great. "If only everyone else on the team were as motivated and talented as me." Winning is everything, except its a personal notch in the gun, and not a team thing.

Stage 4 is dedicated to tribal pride and the overriding conviction that "we're great and they're not," meaning the competition. This works if the foe is big enough and our tribe can see themselves as heroes in this battle against a Goliath.

Stage 5 though is the rare kind of company you dream of being part of, characterized by innocent wonder and the pervasive sense that life is great. Jackson points to the 1995-1998 Bulls as a premiere example of this kind of tribe.

Before you say, "Yes, but he had Michael Jordan," you need to see how he changed Jordan from being a "me" player to a team player.

All this to say that too many companies in America are mired in Stage 2 cultures, hence the widespread popularity of comics like Dilbert and TV shows like The Office. If we really want to make America great again, we won't find the answer on a November ballot. According to the Gallup organization's latest State of the Workplace report, it has to start in the workplace.

The first stat that hits you in the face – because it's on page one --is that only 33% of American workers are engaged in what they are doing. This compares to 70% engaged in the world's best organizations.

Equally disconcerting is the stat that 51% of all workers, according to Gallup, are actively looking for other work.

Considering these realities, it’s clear why people in the U.S. continue to drop out of the labor force in alarming numbers. In some cases, they can’t find a job or the right job, and in other cases, they can’t find a job that pays enough to justify incurring other costs that sometimes go along with working, such as child care, transportation or therapy due to mental duress.

The Gallup report estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity.

A majority of employees (60%) say they want to work at a job that utilizes the skills they do best. What's missing for many if not most workers is a sense of purpose beyond the paycheck. This is especially important for millennials who want their lives, including their work, to have meaning.

Times have changed and the workforce has changed, but many workplaces have not been adapting to these changes, according to Gallup findings. (p. 7) " The key to an organization’s growth has been and always will be its workforce."

The most unsettling pattern in this study of 195,000+ workers was that employees are not confident about their company's leadership, as these stats reveal.

• 22% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization has a clear direction for the organization.
• 15% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future.
• 13% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization.

The report, which you can download here, is near 200 pages.

What Phil Jackson's book explains is that we don't win by being an organization made up solely of Michael Jordans-level talent. Jordan was a rare individual well outside the talent pool bell curve. The power of the team comes together when each member of the team is engaged, while recognizing the value of the other members on the team.

The biggest lesson Michael Jordan and other superstars must learn is how to trust the others on the team so they can work together for maximum effectiveness. Jackson helped Michael "see the light" on how his self-reliance hindered realization of the team's highest capabilities.

All this to say both Eleven Rings and Gallup's State of the Workforce report are good reads.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw this in a Business Insider article: 7 tough lessons people often learn too late in life

Most people do not spend their lives doing what they love. --Nathan Lindahl/Unsplash
• Often, we only learn from an experience retrospectively.
• Turning your passion into a career is a challenge, and requires hard work and perseverance.
• If you appreciate those around you and take time to enjoy the journey in life, fulfillment will come naturally.

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