So why do some leaders make engagement such a low or no priority? They are intelligent. They absolutely want to work on things that improve performance and results. But this on-going research and facts/data has not changed many leaders’ minds, opinions and most importantly their behaviors.
So I went back to doing some more research – this time in basic psychology. There I found some fascinating research on the power of personal beliefs and a concept called the “Convincer Strategy”. A “Convincer Strategy” is how an individual comes to believe something to be true. It includes a preference of hearing, seeing, reading, or experiencing something. It also includes the individual’s perception on creditability of source, the frequency the information must be heard received, and the duration of the information. The combination is different for each individual.
So what does this have to do with employee engagement? As we continue to try to convince leaders of the importance and/or continued importance of engagement and its impact on organizational performance:
- Do we deliver facts/data to match the leader’s preference or do we “overuse” certain techniques or media?
- Is the external and/or internal source for the facts/data perceived to be credible by the leader – not just us? How do we know?
- How often does the leader need to receive these types of correlation studies? Do we sometimes overload the leader during employee survey and action planning time then go “radio silent” for months?
So start by asking a leader two simple questions to help you develop a “Convincer Strategy” for them:
- How would you know if engagement were good for business performance? Listen for words like -- “I would see”, “I would hear”, “I would read”, or “I would experience”. (Delivery and source clues)
- How many times or for how long would you need to receive these facts/data to be convinced it was important and a priority to work on? (Frequency and duration clues)
Persuading and influencing change is hard work. Beliefs can be very stubborn. Sometimes even compelling facts and data won’t work unless you also have a well thought out and executed “Convincer Strategy”. This technique may help engage leaders’ engagement efforts – pun intended.