Disengagement – Strike at the Roots

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of disengagement to each one who is striking at the root.”

Today I want to highlight the comment of one of my readers after the post “Working with Disengaged Teams”.  Peter Hadas is a Change Management consultant located in Toronto.  He wrote…

“I enjoy your blogs. Here’s a comment for this one as it hits home, since organizational change management is my passion and livelihood.

You ask the question, “So, what can we do about this?” But rather than getting into actioning solutions directed at the staff right away, I think it’s important to first sit back and listen. You mention that in this environment people don’t really care. Nothing new here – we’ve both been there, done that, got the T-shirt. So, hearing why they feel disengaged provides very valuable clues.

Where I have been successful in turning these environments around is realizing that if people don’t care, it’s usually because they feel management doesn’t care about them, about the business, or about the customers. Or all of those. I imagine you had similar experiences.

So, the problem becomes about leadership. Part of my change management strategy in these projects is to develop a set of Leader Change Activities that demonstrate genuine care. I don’t want to get into a whole lot of details about how and what kind of activities, but once I get this going, disengagement changes to engagement and adoption picks up.

Leadership is where it’s at in this case. To paraphrase Thoreau, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of disengagement to each one who is striking at the root.” I prefer to strike at the roots.”

Thanks Peter.  Well said.  I completely agree.  If management doesn’t care then why should I?


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