A bunch of us had the pleasure of meeting David in London on Tuesday 5th July for a workshop on employee engagement. We enjoyed a vibrant, engaging, enjoyable time together (well I did at least!). I’ve written a report on our time together over on the blog and if you like you can check it out here


Here is a brief summary, I hope I have captured some of the essence from the day – keen to hear about what I may have missed from others who went and from any of you who have thoughts on what this engagement thing is.


Engagement is invitational. You can’t make people do it, they have to want to. Engagement as a program is a recipe for disaster.

Engagement is not a problem to solve; it is an experience to be lived


Small is the new significant



David is conducting an interesting experiment with bees. Zinghive is dedicated to co-creating organisations, businesses, and social networking through parallel play and metaphoric understanding of honey bees and hives. The project will culminate in the summer of 2012 with an interaction between bees, social media, and computers. Following that there will be exhibits, presentations, and implications for organisations as we learn to think differently inside the hive.

We learned that as the queen bee reaches the end of her useful life, other bees “cook the queen”. They do this by crowding her and beating their wings to raise the temperature around the queen until she dies. He suggests that employees do this to projects they don’t believe in. Maybe not by beating their wings, but if they’re not engaged in the project, it will get cooked. David said that there are bloggers in the audience today and for all he knows, he may get roasted after today…

Resisting change

Folks don’t resist change, they resist coercion to change. It must be invitational, and we must be mindful that the gravity of the familiar pulls you back.


Engagement needs to return more energy than it demands or it is unsustainable.

The end of engagement

The concept will end. Hopefully because it becomes integrated, not because it was the previous fad. Taskforces, add ons, programmes make extra work. There is no way to engagement, it is the way.

What makes engagement? – Progress – High quality connections



When was the last time you heard of a company which allowed the staff to ask what should be in the staff survey?

Never do anything about me, without me.

What about an open creative commons survey? Companies are enslaved to expensive surveys because they (wrongly in my opinion) look for comparative data. Seeing this as valuable presumes that what works here, works there too. It may, and it may not.

Anonymity is not an engagement problem it is a safety problem. When did it become acceptable not to want to know who we are? When I used to work at BT I used to plaster my name all over the verbatim comments. I figured if I had an opinion and I wanted to help then how the hell was anyone going to progress things if they didn’t know who I was? BT then used to go through the data and religiously remove mine and others names. I found that offensive, and I still do. Forced anonymity sucks!


A value is a promise. Live it, be it, behave it and it becomes strong.