Who gets more involved?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

More often than not, companies worry about their employees’ level of involvement.  They look for ways of determining the extent to which they are involved in a company project and its systems in order to motivate them to work more and as well as better—though I’m not entirely sure that the parameters they use to determine the level of involvement are always accurate.  I would like to share a story I once read with you, from the magnificent book by Santiago Alvarez de Mon, La lógica del corazón , that I think will be very illustrative.




Alvarez de Mon had been invited by the Dean of an American school to an interview with two of the school teachers there.  One of them quite happily divulged into sharp criticism about the organizational structure of the school, the regulations and working methods, the retribution system etc… The other said nothing.  As the teachers left, Alvarez de Mon and the Dean had the following conversation:

-What do you think?

-You have a problem, said A. de Mon

-Who with?

-With the fed-up teacher who opposes so many things about the school.

The Dean who was smarter and more astute than A. de Mon (his own words) said to him, “I don’t like what I hear at all, but if I must be honest, he is partly right.  Anyway, he says it to my face. He gets genuinely angry, which cannot be mistaken for the fact that the school still matters to him a lot. It pains his soul.  Whom I am really worried about is the second teacher.  He has opted for the worst possible thing: a silent disdain, indifference, an irreversible scepticism.  The school is no longer of interest to him, perhaps because for a while now, he has been using it to his own advantage.

This makes me think about El despido interior, the book by Lotfi EL-Ghandouri in which he explains the process where some people suffer having started a job with excitement and motivation only to see all of their expectations shattered. With about zero maneuvering power, they decide to give up on their professional aspirations and resign themselves.  They stay on while “keeping the seat warm”.

This self-resignation (probably what has happened to the second teacher) usually takes place due to a series of events in which the person, for differing reasons, begins to feel less and less involved in the organization, their expectations unmet and cannot see the possibility to change anything about it.  Finally, they choose indifference.

It is this process that we must avoid within organizations and stop worrying about “measuring motivation”.  If you do things the right way, there will be no need for measuring motivation.  If you do have to measure it, it may be that you have not done what you should have done…  Systems that allow you to connect like Zyncro, creating internal networks, bypassing hierarchy and listening to everybody, can be a great way to really know what is troubling your “collaborators”.  The only way you are able to grow as a company is by really believing that the “employees” are people that collaborate with you and really listening to them, not just as an “act”.  You might just discover something you did not expect.

How is motivation encouraged in your company?  Do you feel listened to?