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Narratives of engagement

John's reflections Leave a comment

In the mid 1980s, I read Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, the book that started me thinking about the power of narrative and how one could use it in a business context. What struck me most was MacIntyre’s assertion that an individual’s views of self, sense of worth, and sense of what matters in life comes above all else from answering the question, “Of what stories do I find myself a part?”  For me, it was a moment of revelation, what some people call an “Aha moment”; I thought, of course that is true. The collection of stories in which we participate make up our lives. Quite simply, they define “who we are”.   Eventually, … Continue reading

Engagement changes everything

John's reflections, leadership, Storytelling Leave a comment

Wherever I have worked or consulted in organizations, I have made something of a habit of telling everyone in a management position that their number one job is engaging the people around them.   My reason for focusing so keenly on engagement is simple. As we have seen before on this blog, the Gallup Organization’s statistics about engagement are somewhat shocking. Only 30 per cent of North American workers describe themselves as engaged. This 30% level seems remarkably constant, having changed little during the past decade, according to Gallup. And, workers in the rest of the world are even less engaged than those in the United States and Canada. Only 13 per cent of workers … Continue reading

How middle managers can expand their influence

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

After my two-week Super Bowl interlude, I’d like to go back and focus just a bit more on our previous ongoing topic: How can middle managers, these most miserable people in our organizations, find meaning and happiness in their work? So, here is my plan for this blog (which of course may change, as a function of the things I come across in my reading or in my life events): For the next two or three weeks, we look at how managers can be creative in the way they approach their groups, and how this creativity can help them in the quest to find meaning and happiness.   After that, we’ll begin to explore … Continue reading

How to Lose Gracefully: A Leadership Lesson from the Super Bowl

leadership Leave a comment

This week finds me doing two things I never thought I would do. First, I watched an entire Super Bowl from my home in Switzerland. Now, that may not seem so extraordinary, other than for the fact that it was my second day back in Europe, where the game begins well after midnight, and the coverage ends around 5 am.  In large part because of the snowstorm that kept me marooned in Boston for a few days last week (see my previous post for that story), I was well in tune with all the Super Bowl hype, and I decided to experience the game “live”, even if that meant sacrificing a good night’s sleep … Continue reading

A hiring lesson from American football

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

This week has been an unusual one. I have been in the US for over two weeks now, to take care of some of my business here, and to attend two board meetings. It was already planned as a period full of activity, with visits to family and friends squeezed in among the rest.  Of course, as some of you know, I had not planned to stay nearly this long, but then the weather took a bit of a wild turn, as does sometimes tend to happen in New England. I was staying at my parents’ house in the town of my birth, Worcester—a city of some 180,000 people in the … Continue reading

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