A professional educator and mentor offers advice on keeping employees engaged in the workplace.
In this business book, Couillard uses a stool as a metaphor for the elements of worker engagement that employers should understand and strive to improve. The stool’s three legs are control, competence, and connection while its base represents the uniting force of purpose. In the author’s formulation, frustration is the main hurdle workers face, leading to disengagement and low performance, so managers can achieve success through developing a shared sense of purpose and keeping employees motivated. The guide often relies on extended metaphors, like a World War II battleship (staffed by a crew united by a common goal) and the first man labeled “Public Enemy Number One” (less notorious than Al Capone or Bonnie and Clyde but extremely dangerous), that vividly depict common workplace problems and solutions. In addition, Couillard’s taste for dramatic language (“That is the first sign of engagement, the first spark from the fire that burns beneath the surface”) keeps the text from becoming a dry read as it delves into the facets of employee performance. The manual delivers both specific action items, such as surveying workers to find out what they think the organization’s purpose is, as well as more general platitudes on leadership and management. Quotes from several of the author’s corporate clients provide real-world context for many of the concepts presented in the volume. The text is concise and well organized, making it easy to digest in a single sitting or to focus on a discrete section. While many of the notions will be familiar to frequent readers of books on management, less advanced bibliophiles will find plenty in the guide to learn from and implement in their own workplaces. The information is presented effectively and with clarity, and Couillard writes with the tone of an enthusiastic mentor. Additional materials are available on the author’s website (rippledynamics.com), as he reminds readers throughout the manual.
An easy-to-follow introduction to motivating employees and maximizing performance.