Go Large-A Little Social Science Fiction

I just read something that said I am involved in the UK’s Engage for Success (e4s) / “movement”. It’s been a good many years since I’ve been part of a bonafide movement, so I need to knock down the cobwebs and rebuild my activist chops. Time to practice….

(from the intro of the MacLeod Report)
We were asked by the then Secretary of State for Business in the autumn of 2008 to take an in-depth look at employee engagement and to report on its potential benefits for companies, organisations and individual employees. When the new Secretary of State, Lord Mandelson, met us in the spring, as the recession was biting, he encouraged us to examine in particular whether a wider take up of engagement approaches could impact positively on UK competitiveness and performance, as part of the country’s efforts to come through the current economic difficulties, take maximum advantage of the upturn when it comes, and meet the challenges of increased global competition.

Why aim so low? Sure, competitiveness and global competition are wildly important. But why sell this engagement thing so short?

Consider this for the Ultimate Sustainability Strategy: what if a company consciously focused on becoming an institution with credibility and influence, providing a much-needed normalizing force in the surrounding community…which happens to be the company’s talent pool, both current and future? Consider the impact on social issues when employees are offered a sense of community, a purpose larger than their individuality, a values-anchored island of safety and sanity in the midst of the roiling turbulence around them?

What if…

We know this much: people need community, purpose, values. We thrive in that environment. We’ve also learned a real magic trick–such a forward thinking company would realize incredibly enhanced improvements in every bottom line area that matters. It’s been proven over and over.

Maybe the real impact of engagement isn’t in attaining marketplace supremacy, but in impacting the human condition? If we focus on that would business and economic success come along as a by-product?

Does anyone else have wild ‘what-if” fantasies about the potential future of engagement theory? Come on, it doesn’t hurt to play. Go Large-this is more than social science fiction or teetering-on-the-edge-of-lunatic-fringe thinking.

Or maybe that’s exactly what it is…you tell me!


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