Friday, April 22, 2022

What if the Quarterback is Disengaged?

 A friend recently posted a good article on the importance of communicating your organization’s and your team’s purpose. While it certainly is important, it is not everything. It solves one of an organization’s problems according to a Harris Poll:

  • 60% don’t know what the business goals are i.e. only 4 people know they’re supposed to be moving the ball into the other end zone—communicating the purpose can certainly solve this problem
  • 82% don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to accomplish and how their activities relate to the goal i.e. 9 of 11 people aren’t sure what they’re supposed to do on this play—maybe how you communicate the purpose can mitigate this problem
If you combine these probabilities, chances are you only have one person who knows the goals and exactly what they’re doing to accomplish the goal. And on a football team it’s probably the quarterback. However, without the offensive linemen, running backs and receivers, it’s impossible to be successful. So it’s important that the business purpose is communicated and that there’s a line of sight between what each person does and how the goal is to be achieved.

But the problems don’t stop there: 82% don’t care to be on the team. Not only does the Harris poll describe this incidence rate, but look at the history of Gallup’s Engagement studies. The level of disengagement is essentially the same despite decades of organizations paying attention to it. And what’s worse, 82% probably want to be on a different team. [The only good news in this is that your competition has the same problem.]

Also engagement—commitment and enthusiasm—is not going to change nor is corporate alignment to be highly successful without a lot of extra effort unless…leaders pay attention to the foundation of any organizational dynamics, change and improvement: trust throughout the organizational levels. The team needs to believe others are dependable, have integrity, accepting of strengths/weaknesses/mistakes/victories, open and vulnerable with each other (e.g. willing to ask for and offer help) and have sufficient levels of competency. Without this, Gallup’s prescription is fruitless. 

So how bad is it? Trust Edge ( reports that 87% have less than full trust of leadership.
Until we rebuild trust, everything else will be seen as manipulative and engagement is going to stay low. And you can communicate your team’s purpose well, but your team won’t care. They’re ready to jump ship.

No comments:

Post a Comment