8th May 2015


Is your organisation operating at full capacity?  





I reckon most organisations are operating at around 70% of their capacity. I think they have been achieving probably less than 80% of the outcomes they could be achieving. It's like having a high powered vehicle but the driver's too terrified to really open it up - he or she won't let the hand brake off because they can't handle the power. And while many organisations do alright, and survive operating at less than full speed like this for many years, more and more are facing the wall. The pressures for change are becoming so strong that you either do something differently or die! Oh that is a bit dramatic, but I hope I have your attention.


So why do I think organisations might be operating at around 70% capacity?  


Think about your people. Are they bouncing into work, full of energy; leaving work happy knowing that they have made a difference. Or are they taking sickies, dragging their butts in, complaining about how hard they are working, or how overwhelmed they are? Are they saving their best for after work?  


Gallup's 2011 survey found that in Australia and NZ, only 24% of employees were engaged.  Sixty percent were not engaged "meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organisational goals or outcomes. And 16% are "actively disengaged," indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers. "  


What would an actively disengaged person look like in your organisation?  

What sort of damage could they do?


In 2013, the participation rate in the People Matter survey was around 26% - how interesting that it is similar to the Gallup engagement results. I am not even sure this makes it statistically representative. But what I am sure of is it indicates that over 70% of people in the Victorian public sector think it is not worth their time. Why not? Is it because they don't think it makes any difference whether they participate or not? Is it because they have not been listened to or engaged actively before?




I am convinced that this lack of engagement is strongly influenced by their leaders interest in empowering their people. And the root cause of a lack of leadership empowerment is a lack of leadership self-empowerment.  When a manager lacks self-confidence and self empowerment, they tend to either avoid stepping up or at the other end of the continuum, they tend to take over so that they are seen to be doing something. In both cases they disempower those around them, limiting the capacity of their people and their organisations.


How engaged are your people? What capacity do you think your organisation is running at right now? If your people are not engaging and taking the initiative, is it because they are being disempowered in some way?




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