I have a new guy who was sent out to a very remote area to do the work of two people in a shortened time frame from the usual schedule.  He was sent out to do this the first day out of training with little communication backup available. Not exactly a recipe for success.

When he returned from his three day nearly 800 mile trip he looked beat, and he asked how he had done with the work.  We talked about what he had accomplished and he told me of the challenges of things like twenty minute drives down roads with no markers, no directions, and lost time backtracking. He told me about just the sheer volume of miles and challenging navigating through the “back country” in order to do his work. And then he looked at me and said “When can I go back?”  Not when do I have to go back, but when can I go back.

Part of our leadership mandate is to build, measure, foster and promote an atmosphere of engagement within our teams.  We know that an engaged workforce is not only a more productive workforce, but a more sustainable one for the long term.

My team was hashing it about last week building an engagement plan with a recognition and reward structure for our contract work that is new enough to still be in the formative stage fraught with changes.  To have substance, our engagement plan needs to be performance driven and rewarded. We need to set stretch objectives for our people and we want to have transparency with metrics and expectations in order to effectively coach and support an engaged workforce.

After spinning ideas around for an hour, we adjourned the meeting to continue next week being no closer to a plan than when we started.  And I don’t know how engaged we in the leadership team were feeling after the frustrating exercise.

Then I remembered the simplicity of engagement.  “When can I go back?”  Engagement. We need to build on and recognize this.



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