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Jostle

About Shawn Murphy

Shawn Murphy serves as CEO of WorqIQ, formerly Switch and Shift, an organization that helps leaders transform the experience of work to be energizing and optimistic. The goal is to help employees and the organization achieve greater levels of success while creating a great place to work. You can read Shawn’s weekly column, Positive Business, on Inc.com. His debut book, The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment that Energizes Everyone, is out now. Shawn is a contributor to the Jostle blog.

Empowering middle managers is central to employee engagement

By Shawn Murphy | 4 min read
Middle managers can have the largest impact on employee engagement. Find out how you can support them. 
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7 Culture Elements for Doing Work That Matters

By Shawn Murphy | 3 min read
That sucking sound you hear is that of hearts and souls being drained of life as employees arrive to work. It’s been this way for sometime: arrive to work, jump on the hamster wheel and run from one life taking meeting to another.
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Bringing Back Optimism to the Workplace

By Shawn Murphy | 2 min read
by Shawn Murphy

Has your workplace lost it's 'mojo'? Does it seem like ages ago since you last saw positivity in the eyes of your employees?

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3 Reasons Why Your Board Should Care about Employee Engagement

By Shawn Murphy | 2 min read

By Shawn Murphy, via Switch and Shift

Her neck stiffened, her jaw clenched and her words strained from disbelief, or anger, “We don’t need employees input on strategy. We’re the board. They do as we say.” And with that her proclamation ended.

The smell of antiquity gushed from her mouth as she uttered her words. Satisfied with her message and ignorant to their implications, this board President managed to reinforce the moat between her ivory tower and employees.

The board President’s words dehumanized the workplace and those in the arena with blood, dirt and tears marring their faces

In one harrumph, her traditional perspective disregarded the countless stories of commitment displayed in late work nights, missed family events, even the battle scars from project implementations. Waved off with the proverbial “it’s their job” remark, the board President’s wordsdehumanized the workplace and those in the arena with blood, dirt and tears marring their faces.

It’s common. It’s unfortunate. And it chips away at employee engagement.

Why should the board care about employee engagement?

Capped growth

Board members who disregard the collective narrative of employees’ contributions, disassociate themselves from corporate reality. Employment viewed as a means to a profitable end alienates people. Alienated people stop caring. Hard work, creativity, innovation suffocate negatively influencing corporate growth goals.

Employment viewed as a means to a profitable end alienates people

Culture-Schizophrenia

Board members viewing the organization from the ivory tower will not understand the culture in which managers and employees work. Board members are also stewards of the corporate culture. They are not culture-renegades. A company’s culture isn’t to support the board, but those who must implement the solutions to align with the mission of the business.

Board members are also stewards of the corporate culture

Purpose Disillusionment

When a board’s actions are incongruent with the company’s values and mission, they message to all employees and customers that the organization’s purpose doesn’t matter. Employees grow disillusioned and discontent, as the business’s reason for existence is watered down.

Employee engagement is a board concern. Their actions influence and shape results and the work environment. Outdated, dehumanizing perspectives of employees broadcast a message that they don’t matter. Eventually the board is viewed as out of touch, arrogant, and useless to the purpose of the organization.

We don’t need more useless and outdated management beliefs no matter who, where and how such people support an organization.

About the Author

Shawn Murphy is the owner and principal consultant at Achieved Strategies. With over 20 years working to help people create change and contribute their best, Shawn has grown deeply passionate about inspiring, educating, and sharing what he has learned to help leaders bring the best out in their people.

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The Neglected Culture

By Shawn Murphy | 1 min read

By Shawn Murphy

Without intentionally cultivating and nurturing your company’s culture, you’ll get what emerges from neglect. And it won’t be what you or your employees want. Your customers will know that something is “off” with your company.

Ugly things grow from neglect. Discontent settles in. An aimless anger grows. Counterproductive behaviors dominate. Slowly, imperceptibly your culture devolves into a toxic mess that chases away those with the stamina and willingness to redirect the neglected culture.

Malcom X once said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Your company’s culture is a proclamation of what it stands for.

For all the human capital spent managing budgets, planning the new year’s activities or implementing another project, the results will not please those sitting at the top of the hierarchy.

Can great things happen in a neglected culture? Sure. However, unnecessary calories are burned just doing the necessities in business: manage, lead, produce.

Certainly signs of high turnover or inability to fill key positions can be symptoms of a culture unintentionally created. Here, though, are more insidious signs. Insidious because they are likely to be considered the norm, or “just how things are done around here.” They are all too often a byproduct of a neglected culture:

  • Lack of productive conflict in exploring ideas, shaping the direction of the company
  • Long standing, unresolved differences between departments
  • Poor executive visibility amongst employees
  • Tolerance for gossip
  • Keeping underperformers; letting toxic managers, employees stay

What does your company stand for if its culture is shaped by neglect?

Certainly a tough question to face. But one worth the investment in time and energy. Knowing what your culture stands for can be liberating, exhilarating, inspiring, and certainly motivating.

About the Author

Shawn Murphy is the owner and principal consultant at Achieved Strategies. With over 20 years working to help people create change and contribute their best, Shawn has grown deeply passionate about inspiring, educating, and sharing what he has learned to help leaders bring the best out in their people.

Read more...
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