Engaging the workforce is essential to achieving the highest levels of effectiveness possible from your organization. The best way to gain very high levels of engagement is to set up and then enable decision-making by employees up, down, and across the organization. Making decisions is very engaging: when employees self-manage decisions that affect their work, employee engagement can and will substantially increase. High levels of employee engagement are strongly correlated with positive business outcomes.
The key for understanding how to set up a self-managed environment includes authorizing an appropriate level of freedom while also maintaining an appropriate level of control. The control aspect is modulated via three very specific communication levers. These three levers are explained in complete detail in Part 1.
In this book, we emphasize decisions that affect the group: who makes them, who does not, when they are made, how they are made, who is affected, and why those decisions are actually necessary or not. That is why our definitions of the word leadership contains the phrase “decision that affects all the members.”
When your organization is self-managing efficiently, almost everything you are measuring improves, as a direct result of higher levels of employee engagement. When employees are engaged, problems decrease as solutions increase. Efficiency increases in a sustainable way. Things get better. KPIs (key performance indicators) and OKRs (objectives and key results) reflect improvement.
Inviting Leadership enables achievement of efficient self-management. It enables this across even the largest enterprises. In fact, this book offers the hypothesis that self-management is essential to any program of improvement, especially improvement at scale. Self-management is what actually scales, not frameworks, procedures, fad management programs, or buzzwords. Self-management is what actually scales, because self-managed teams are adaptive teams. As we describe in the next chapter, invitations from leaders are a primary trigger for decision-making. And decision-making is a primary trigger for employee engagement. And employee engagement, according to Gallup, is correlated with better business outcomes, more employee happiness, and a sustained increase in enterprise value.
It all starts with your design and delivery of carefully crafted leadership invitations.