The Engaged Leader
To learn the importance of an Engaged Leader, you need to have a picture of a Disengaged Leader as well as an Engaged Leader. Telling a story is the easiest way to highlight the traits and characteristics of both. You will be able to learn to clarify the differences between an Engaged Leader and a Disengaged Leader as a result of this 4-part story. Part 1 of this story is all about the Disengaged Leader and is the start of our quest to understand the importance of an Engaged Leader!
An Introduction to our Engaged Leader
The Princess has a very distinct philosophy when it comes to business. She believes the business is nothing without the people! As a result, the clients, employees and management were Included at the core of the business.
The princess feels it is necessary to have:
- Clear set of values
- Business commitments
- Clearly defined vision
After so many years in business, the Princess feels that to keep Charming Ltd. fresh and relevant a fresh perspective is needed. Hence, she decided to revamp the stale business plan from years ago and take an innovative approach.
Change is in the Air
Most of all she knew she was not the answer. As she thought to herself, “It seems like if I am an engaged leader I need to step outside of the box for this one”. All of a sudden, she had an idea! She set about the task of creating a focus group. She gathered clients, employees, management and a few members of the board together to present the need that they could fulfill.
At once the focus group set out to do the heavy lifting in creating and updating the company culture, values and commitments. It was decided to start with an update to the core values. As the meeting got started, Mary, the Director of HR, suggested, “One of the company values needs to be collaboration, after all, this very meeting is an exercise in collaboration.”
The Director of Sales, Jane, stood and said, “Customer Service should be one of the core values for the company. We are nothing without customers and when we have a customer we need to make them happy!” She received a round of applause from the customers who were in the group.
A discussion ensued for the next hour, suggestions were made, discussed and argued. In the end, they ended up with a list of 3 Core Values to be enacted company wide. The focus was on:
- Customer Service
Now that they had reached this result they broke for lunch. The caterers laid the food out on the conference room table and the focus group filled their plates and sat down to eat. Several conversations were going on at once.
Collaboration – a Learning Tool
Nancy, one of the clients, was speaking to Mary who asked, “Nancy, you are a CEO, how are you able to steer your company and stay on top of the market changes? You company is always so current!”
She responded, “We created an employee steering committee. The committee’s job is to gather all the employee ideas, sort through them, and enact the ones we can use now. We keep all the ideas for future reference. We created a process for validation as well as finding vendors who might provide the solution at a lower cost.”
Mary, seeing this as a possible solution for keeping Charming Ltd. relevant and current, then asked, “How much time and cost is associated in developing and maintaining the steering committee?”
“That’s a great question! We used the same methods as starting a company. We created a business plan for the committee, that took the planning team 1 week. The employee time varies on average. If an employee is interacting with the committee they are taking 1-2 hours per month out of their work schedule.
The benefits of this committee to the company are numerous. For instance we found that employee retention is at an all-time high. Our attrition rate is less than 2%, consequently we are actually saving money since we are not having to train new employees as frequently as before”.
This gave Mary quite a bit to think about. While things were good at Charming, there were still some employee concerns that were in need of a solution. Mary sat pondering if Nancy’s committee would work for Charming.
The focus meeting restarted and the new topic was measurement. One of the things the CFO, Monica, brought up was the lack of consistent measurements regarding financial, sales and marketing efforts.
Before the meeting was over, Mary was called out to her office. Tom from Duke Enterprises was in her office. Mary walked in and said, “Tom is nice to see you, but I am confused, did we have a meeting scheduled?”
“No, Mary, I wanted to personally come and let you know I resigned last week!”
“Alright, Tom. Why do I have the feeling there is more to this than you are letting on?”
“Because there is! I was feeling overwhelmed in a no-win situation so I resigned. I’m now looking for a new position. I don’t mind the stress as long as there is a way for me to be a part of winning the game.”
Mary sat for a moment contemplating what Tom had shared. She was wondering if the solution to some of the issues at Charming was just handed to her on a silver platter. Mary excused herself and spoke to Jane on her break from the Focus meeting.
Both directors saw the value of Tom’s presence in their office. And they decided to ask him to return tomorrow. Jane returned to the meeting as Mary spoke to Tom.
There are no Secrets
Tom agreed to meet with Mary and Jane tomorrow at 10. Meanwhile Mary called the Princess, “I had a surprise guest in my office today! Tom was here from Duke and he has resigned. I set a meeting for tomorrow at 10. Both Jane and I feel he would make a great addition to our team. How do you feel?”
“It has gotten back to me that there are massive issues going on at Duke, I have to admit I am not surprised that Tom has resigned. I would like to have lunch with the three of you at 11:30. Meet me in my office, I’ll have lunch delivered. Can you and Jane give me an outline of what you are thinking regarding Tom by 8 am tomorrow?” replied the Princess.
By 8 am the Princess had not only the received the plans for Tom, she was also given the results and timeline from the meetings yesterday. She studied them carefully, and researched how these ideas would benefit Charming.
Click this link If you would like to know more about engaged leaders.
Halogen Software Blog