Friday, August 20, 2004

Marcus Buckingham - One Thing You Need to Know

It's been a week now since I heard Marcus Buckingham's session "Discovering your Leadership Strength." Marcus Buckingham is the coauthor of First, Break All the Rules, as well as other articles and books.

Marcus' talk was focused on management and leadership and the impact of engaging employees has on company performance. Gallup polls had asked employees around the world if they felt they had the tools and skills to do their job (competent), knew what was expected (focused), and believed in what the company's mission (confident/spirited). Gallup then categorized workers as being Engaged, Neutral, or Actively Disengaged, depending on how the questions were answered. Engaged workers are in their "sweet spot", but account for only 29% of the workforce in the US. Of the rest, 55% were neutral and 16% were actively disengaged (Marcus jokingly said "bitter"). A German paper had reported on this information, and translated actively disengaged as "quitting in the brain."

The difference of having engaged or actively disengaged is reflected in one nationwide chain that had employee turnover of 10-15% in one store and over 200% in another store in the same area. Same company, same area, same company policies, same job descriptions, same benefits. Another company measured part of its success via safety. One site had 0% of employee accidents for the year, while another had 25% in only two months. Once again, same company, same safety policies, but different local engaged or disengaged workers.

Per Marcus, a company creates:
  • Competent people by how the company picks and trades them
  • focused people based on how the manage them and
  • Spirited workers through how the company leads.
I'll review how management and leadership does these three things on my next post.

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