This is an excellent question. I could have done without the sneering and incredulous condescending tone when it was asked but the asker is a good (if somewhat tone deaf sales guy) bud of mine who doesn’t mince words (or facial expressions).
The thing is I understand that “purposeful engagement” sounds a little silly to someone who isn’t a die hard OD/IOPsych/Organizational Change Agent Freak. And that’s pretty much 99% of the universe. So I explain:
Purposeful engagement is when you choose to be where you are and you choose to put your all into meeting the goals of the place you are in while you’re there. Get it? It’s being all there. ALL in your life. ALL in your work. ALL in. (More sneering condescending tone as I am asked: “You don’t honestly believe someone could feel that way or “choooose” to be that way at work do you?”). Yes, I do.
1. In my 20 years in HR and management development roles I have seen lots of people feel and be this way.
2. In my experience I’ve seen a number of people actually “get it” and choose to feel and be that way when in fact just a bit earlier they were stuck and miserable and wanting out (of their life or their work).
3. In my experience a truly engaged employee is worth at least 72 birds in the bush. (I’m sure there was a study done to support this but it really doesn’t matter because it’s true.)
3. In my opinion not many people can achieve this without some instruction which we do not provide in any structured way, shape or form at least here in the US and which should be provided more regularly, to more people, earlier in their lives.
4. What purposeful engagement takes is self awareness, self management, resourcefulness, appreciation and application of unique individual talent, a sense of purpose in work and life and the commitment (and capability) to see it through.
5. Anyone can develop the capacity for purposeful engagement though it’s better if you develop it early. It is not just something you are or are not. It is something you can choose to develop in whatever situation you are in (or choose to get out of).
Uncommon Readers! What does purposeful engagement mean to you and do you think people can develop it? I look forward to your comments.