Driven to Disengage

The high cost of an unhappy workforce

Burnout. Mental Fatigue. Disenchantment. In the fast-paced, cutthroat, high-pressure environment that characterizes today’s workplace, people—the core of what makes an organization function—can quickly detach from believing in what the organization stands for and, as they say, just show up. This disengagement comes at a high cost—$450 billion to $550 billion, according to Gallup research.

And so, in this month’s cover story, "Maintenance Required," the authors look to W. Edwards Deming for the lens through which we might examine our own organizations to find weaknesses in our cultures and leadership approaches.

"Deming believed employees wanted to take pride and joy in their work, and that it was management’s responsibility to create the kind of culture where that could happen," the authors write. "He called for a transformation in the way leaders think, act and manage. In short, he called for new management methods that, if understood and correctly used, would allow those who work in a system to do their best work."

Once employees are engaged, motivated and doing their best work, they feel empowered to help meet the goals an organization has set. Hoshin kanri is an excellent method for helping to achieve an organization’s strategic goals. In "All Together Now," the author outlines eight steps of the planning process that can help you galvanize your long-term thinking and work on the right projects, at the right time, with the right metrics and resources. The author provides several detailed figures that will give you a jumpstart on creating your own X matrixes to launch your long-range planning.

Another great tool to drive decision making is the Pugh matrix. In "Decide and Conquer," the authors describe how complex decisions, including product design, can be much smoother with better outcomes by using a decision-making matrix to rate the different attributes and criteria of a decision by importance. The authors describe several scenarios where the tool might be useful in driving consensus and clarity.

When I think about riding a hoverboard, I tend to think the only safety precaution that makes sense is a helmet. Recent incidents, however, have indicated a need for a fireproof suit. Yet, these cases expand beyond hoverboards as they involve the lithium-ion batteries many products today are powered from. Read about the quality lapses and resulting problems in "Botched and Dangerous."

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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