We hear a lot about how disengaged most people are from their jobs. Currently, about 70% of US workers are disengaged. Worldwide, the number is significantly larger. Why is this a big deal and what can we do about it? Good questions.

Part of the big deal is the cost of disengaged workers. According to a Gallup poll, disengaged employees are estimated to cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion per year in lost productivity. But that’s only part of the cost.

Second, disengaged workers are more stressed, which has all sorts of negative implications and additional costs associated with it.

Third, disengaged employees have difficulty working as a team. Great leaders and managers are always looking for ways to improve teamwork.

94% of the results we experience in the workplace are a function of the systems and processes in which people work, not the efforts of people.

This leads to the second question, what can we do about it? I think we’ve missed the boat on fixing the problem because we don’t understand the problem. Let me take a whack at putting a new theory on the root cause of the problem (or most of it) and then a potential solution that has worked well in various organizations. 94% of the results we experience in the workplace are a function of the systems and processes in which people work, not the efforts of people. How many leaders and managers know this? Not many. If we want better results, we have to fix our systems. Simple as that.

Second, Nobel Prize-winning science shows us that stresses in systems that resist change in a changing environment are passed on to those who have to work in those systems. Now we have stressed systems, stressed people and poor results. How can anyone be fully engaged in a workplace like this? They can’t.

We have developed seven Tools that have proved quite effective in fixing systems, relieving stress on people, creating great outcomes and promoting teamwork—all baked into the process. These Tools are all systems-based, which gets at a likely core issue for people being disengaged at your company. It’s nearly impossible to fully engage employees in a company with poor systems. Poor systems always win, even when going up against the best people.

To learn more about The New Agreements and the 7 Tools, pick up a free copy of my book, The New Agreements for Leaders – The 4 New Agreements and 7 Simple Tools that Develop Emerging Leaders and Managers and Grow Great Organizations.


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As a 24-year-old, I founded a company with $5000 and built it into a $10M business with 200 employees. I was an early adaptor in the quality movements of the late 1970s and early 1980s, often speaking to business groups on the subject. Since 1990, I’ve been doing consulting and training, teaching leaders and managers how to be better in their roles, resulting in much higher performing businesses. My life’s work is embodied in The New Agreements for Leaders training, a systems-based paradigm shifting leadership and management model that creates significantly more value in businesses than traditional models. My latest book (I’ve written five) is The New Agreements for Leaders. The engine for implementation of this model is the 7 Tools for emerging leaders and managers. Importantly, the use of 7 New Agreements Tools for leaders and managers actually grows good and even great leaders and managers. For eight years, I worked directly with don Miguel Ruiz, author of the best selling The Four Agreements and prior to that studied both the physical science of change and the spiritual science of transformation. I’m now living in Napa with Linda, my wife of 46 years, so we can be close to our children and grandchildren. I’m learning to drink wine out of a glass rather than a pitcher and still enjoy a bad round of golf now and again.
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