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Input or just Output?

If you were to ask your employees if you valued not only their output but also their input, what would they say?

A few months ago, I ran across to a meme on LinkedIn that stated that if your employer values your output but not your input… it might be time to change your job.

This came across at a very interesting time in my career as I was working through a very large Agile transformation at a Fortune 100 company and their employees were struggling with similar topics.

Soon after this, I was asked to participate in the Agile Leadership Journey, as a guide. I leveraged similar teachings in the past, but as I was deep-diving into the material, I keep focusing on the idea of a catalyst leader bringing up the voices of all of the people brainstorming those ideas sharing and debating openly the ideas that come out across the team, experimenting, not just as the leader. And I find that this as well in Liz Wiseman's book Multipliers.

I had an opportunity to coach an executive who is very headstrong. They are focused on delivering results that THEY want. There's a high demand to focus on their pet projects.

Their people are willing to deliver on those projects, but they know that it's not what the customers are asking for. The customer has even said outright they don’t want or need those features.

As the executive coach, I need to focus on working with that leader to listen to the ideas of his people and to listen to his customers. We know that what got this CEO to build a successful company needed different skills and was a different time from where they need to go today, to allow the company to move forward, beyond this CEO.

According to the Gallup engagement study, 52% of workers are still not engaged in the US. The numbers have gotten slightly better over the last two decades. In 2000, the percent of engaged employees was at 26% and since 2012 we've been rising steadily from 30% to now 35% engagement. On the bright side, the disengaged employees (which are the employees who are actively working against the company) has gone down from 20% in 2007 to now down to 13% up to 2018. Of course, all of this is before the COVID pandemic.

I would ask all leaders to think about how they treat their employees and to ask each employee “Do you feel that I value not only your output which is, of course, important but do I also value your input”.

If you need help improving your employee engagement, let's talk.

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