Disengaged! – 7 Tools Leaders Need to Re-Engage Their People

We hear a lot about how disengaged most people are from their jobs. Currently about 70% of US workers are disengaged. Worldwide, the number is significantly larger. Why is this a big deal and what can we do about it? Good questions.

Part of the big deal is the cost of disengaged workers. According to a Gallup poll, disengaged employees are estimated to cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion per year in lost productivity. But that’s only part of the cost.

Disengaged workers are more stressed, which has all sorts of negative implications and additional costs associated with it. Disengaged employees have difficulty working as a team. Good leaders and managers are always looking for ways to improve teamwork.

This leads to another question, what can we do about it? I think we’ve missed the boat on fixing the problem because we don’t understand the problem. Let me take a whack at putting a new theory on the root cause of the problem (or most of it) and then a potential solution that has worked well for others.

94% of the results we experience in the workplace are a function of the systems and processes in which people work, not the efforts of people. How many leaders and managers are trained to deal with this fact? Not many. If we want better results and more engaged people, we have to optimize or re-create our systems. Simple as that.

Nobel Prize winning systems and management science shows us that stresses in systems that resist change in a changing environment are passed on to those who have to work in those systems. Now we have stressed systems, stressed people and poor results. How can anyone be fully engaged in a workplace like this? They can’t—and aren’t.

We have developed 7 Tools that have proved quite effective in fixing systems, relieving stress on people, creating superior outcomes and promoting teamwork—all baked into the process. These Tools are all systems-based, which gets at a likely core cause for people being disengaged at most companies—poor/stressed systems. It’s nearly impossible to fully engage employees in companies where systems have become stressed by changes in the business environment. Poor systems always win, even when going up against good people.


To learn more about The New Agreements and the 7 Tools, pick up a copy of my book, The New Agreements for Leaders – The 4 New Agreements and 7 Simple Tools that Develop Emerging Leaders and Managers and Grow Great Organizations. It’s free at www.thenewagreements.com.