What is Patricia writing now?

Happy summer to you and yours! I’m kicking off this lovely season with a new tradition: in addition to my various musings, I’ll post occasional selections from my works in progress. Here’s an excerpt from Money and Meaning (I hope it will be published in 2011), taken from the chapter on Values-based Leadership. I look forward to your comments. Most of all, despite the often-daunting headlines, remember this: You have permission to en-JOY the beauty of summer. How else will you recharge your Being (to say nothing of your batteries) for any challenging times later on?

A New Moral Contract?

So here’s a question: How good are leaders at “engaging” people?

Sad to say, not very: Only one employee in five is “fully engaged,” reports Towers Perrin, a global consultant that frequently surveys on employee engagement. Worse, the majority of employees (who range from “so-so” to disenchanted to disengaged) actually “undermine” the efforts of their enthusiastic colleagues.

Top leaders get mediocre marks — at best — from their people in such surveys:

  • Only 38 percent think top leaders care about employee well being.
  • More than half say they “treat us like just another part of the organization to be managed” or (worse) “as if we don’t matter.”
  • Just one in four agree top leaders communicate openly and honestly.

Despite leadership’s dubious “report card”, employees are “eager” to “invest” themselves, insists Towers Perrin. But first they have a question:

What’s in it for me?

If I genuinely care about my work, will leaders care about me? We’re not talking lifelong employment here. Gen X and Gen Y could not care less about the benevolent, if paternalistic, social contract their grandparents may have enjoyed. They’re after a new deal at work — one that may prove even more demanding:

They want a moral contract.

Before investing their time, energy, dedication, caring and “willingness to go the extra mile,” they have a few questions. Here is my take on some of them.

Money and Meaning Employee Engagement Checklist

q      Will this company respect me?

q      Will I be proud to work here – or will the company’s actions embarrass me?

q      Do the company’s actions, policies and strategy live up its code of ethics?

q      Will it act with Authenticity? Justice? Trust?

q      Do its products/services make the world a better place?

q      Can I grow my gifts and skills here?

q      Will I serve humanity at this company?

q      Can I fulfill my life dreams and goals at this workplace?


So, here’s a final question:

How would your company fare against these new moral criteria?

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