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Permission to Speak – Leadership Blog – Kelly Vandever Interviews Kevin Jones on Organizational Culture and Employee Engagement


Podcast Logo Kevin JonesPermission to Speak

Video Blog & Podcast

Hosted by Leadership Communications Expert Kelly Vandever

Permission to Speak is the video blog and podcast that loiters at the intersections of leaders who want their people to speak up, technology that facilitates connections, and results that serve an organization’s higher purpose.

Our guest for this episode:  Kevin Jones

Topics discussed:

  • Employee engagement
  • Work Zombies
  • Create work environments where employees love what they do
  • Social tools in the work environment
  • Change agent program
  • Empowering employees to instigate change
  • Enterprise social network
  • Human Centered Design Process – Ideo
  • Changing cultures
  • Ethnography – the study of a culture
  • Employees taking initiative
  • Most companies don’t have conversations about culture
  • Focus on strengths
  • Asked managers- how do you engage employees
  • Managers agree on demotivators and factors that disengage themselves and their employees
  • Managers engage using techniques like: throw a party- give awards- have child care- management by walking around- etc.
  • These action alleviate disengagement- but they don’t engage employees
  • When employees were asked what engaged them- they said: allow me to fail- trust me – they weren’t taking about programs.  They were talking about the environment.
  • Give me the freedom to…
  • Managers seem to forget that what motivates and engage them- are the same things that employees want too
  • Have to have the basic things- good benefits- etc. But they’re not enough to engage.
  • Turning around a big organization with middle managers who’ve fought for power and now you want to change things up
  • NASA solving a problem opening up outside of the group who owned it looking for a solution
  • If you can’t figure out a problem- human nature is that you don’t want to let people know about it. But by being willing to open it up- they found a solution in 2 weeks
  • And those employees did it mostly on their time off
  • Social business is about 10% technology- 90% people and culture
  • When the social technology comes- it’s a totally different way of working
  • Social technology is a forum to say something about the elephant in the room
  • Social business brings out the already established attitudes- it doesn’t create anything new. It just brings it out so anyone can see.
  • Managers want to separate their people because of political turf wars
  • Age has nothing to do with using social technologies in business
  • Adoption strategies and mindsets around social technologies
  • Social business is a great way to keep track of what’s going on within your groups
  • Social business lets leaders be more targeted by who they follow- by following those who are good at talking about what’s going on
  • Managers gain more trusted advisors- place trust into employees
  • Managers don’t feel like they need to control everything because they can keep up with the work the employees are doing
  • People are not so beaten down that they won’t take jump at the chance to engage- they want to be engaged
  • Employee engagement is not about managers wanting to get more out of their employees – it’s about creating an environment where employees can thrive- where they can do their best – do that and employees will come alive!
  • An example of a toxic employee moved to a new department and became hugely successful
  • Umbrella principle – focus on something at the higher order level and everything underneath it gets taken care
  • As a manager- giving up control
  • The focus on the purpose is undervalued
  • Simon Synek – Start with Why
  • Don’t do things blindly- ask why (over and over)
  • If employees understand the why- you don’t need as many rules and guidelines
  • There are still bounds- but they can do the right thing because they understand the why
  • Kevin’s challenge – focus on your personal why
  • Why do you do what you do?




Secrets of the Engaged Employee Podcast