Energy, Not Engagement, Is What Powers High-Performing Teams

Here’s the bottom line – Energized people deliver better results.  Every day leaders like you can shift from managing employee engagement, to fostering an environment that will leave you and your team with more energy – energy to power the results you really want, and for your family, community and personal pursuits. Energize your people and watch these high-performing teams get more done, in more innovative ways and be more resilient in the face of change and ambiguity.

The science of energy

When we make a positive connection with others, a powerful concoction of neuromodulators gets released: oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. These brain “juices” unlock our energy and enable its renewal. When these neuromodulators are flowing, we are socially intelligent, creative, confident, productive and purposeful.

How do you fuel high-performing teams?

Watch as Brady Wilson discusses how engaged but exhausted employees impact business performance. By leveraging brain science, you can improve performance by managing energy not engagement.  


High-Performing Teams Are Both Engaged AND Energized

Can an employee be engaged but exhausted? Dedicated, but depleted? Completely locked into the cause, but this close from burnout?

We know the answer, of course they can. That can describe any one of us. But how do you spot it? How could you detect when somebody is in that place of being completely engaged, but they’re exhausted? Well, of course, you can see it in their body language, you can see that they used to initiate in meetings, and now they’re staying silent. They used to challenge and push back on things that don’t make sense or aren’t working, and now they’re resigned.

But there are better ways to spot it. Because, science says the first thing we lose access to when we are engaged, but exhausted, is our executive function. That is your ability to focus in the midst of massive distractions. To manage your emotions in high stakes situations. Your ability to connect the dots in novel, value adding ways that create surprising value for the organization. Your ability to predict the downstream implications of a strategy. Your ability to implement, follow through, execute.

These are the power tools of innovation, the power tools of an unforgettable customer experience. But if we have employees who can’t access their executive function, these well intentioned people will put in the Herculean efforts and make the heroic dives to ensure things don’t slip through the cracks. But, they’re unable to get to the root cause. They’re unable to think innovatively. And so depletion is hardwired right into the system. We have an ecosystem of duct tape fixes, workarounds, reactivity and firefighting that is guaranteed to burn people out.

Energy And Engagement Are Not The Same

There’s a best before date to engagement without energy. It is difficult for employees to sustain their discipline when they no longer feel a sense of passion. It’s almost impossible for them to keep up their dedication when they no longer feel enthusiasm about their work. It’s so difficult for them to keep up their level of commitment when they no longer feel inspired or to maintain their loyalty to the organization when they’ve lost their sense of vitality.

Are engagement and energy at war with each other? Of course not. But they are not the same thing. I’ve asked leaders all around the world, “what is engagement?” and they say: discipline, commitment, dedication, loyalty, somebody who goes ABCD, the person you want to clone – who goes above and beyond the call of duty, focus, and determination. Who would argue with this beautiful list?

But there’s something missing. Let’s take a look at the other column. Here we have an employee who is passionate, enthusiastic, inspired, who brings a sense of vitality, who gets so absorbed and immersed in their work that they lose track of time. They bring innovation and ingenuity, they have a sense of agility and resilience. Now think about this for a moment.

If we have engagement without energy, what we provide is a transactional tickbox, robotic, mechanical experience that can never drive organic growth.

Energy Drives The Customer Experience You Want

You’ve got an employee right now in your organization who’s having an interaction with a customer. And when that interaction is finished, what do you want the customer to be saying about that interaction when they go back to work and they talk to their colleagues? Yeah, I just had an interaction with ABC organization, and that person was proficient, knowledgeable, capable, and competent? Is that what you want them saying about the interaction?

Of course not. That’s table stakes. Any of your competitors can provide that kind of customer experience. What you want them to say is, I just had a conversation with somebody from ABC organization and the person was incredibly passionate and inspired about what they do. I felt like I was dealing with a genuine, authentic human being who really got me and was able to bring a tailor made, innovative solution, that was a beautiful synthesis of them meeting their needs, but me getting my needs met. I wasn’t expecting that. That is human magic.

What drives organic growth? Human magic. What drives the unforgettable customer experience? Human magic. You’ve got to have engagement to keep the lights on and set the table stakes up. They’re important as well.

Let’s be honest, without energy, all your strategies are at risk. If you manage energy, you will get engagement. The opposite is not always true. Manage energy, not engagement.



The Engagement Paradox

Traditional employee engagement strategies aren’t working anymore. Scores are plateauing (in some cases even declining) leading to a crisis of belief for both employees and leaders.

This white paper offers a new path forward – one that blends the energy employees want with the customer experience and business results leaders need.


Without energy, your strategies are at risk


Transforming the way you engage with employees in today’s complex workplaces requires new approaches to leadership. Our customized learning solutions will help you grow leadership skills and fuel sustainable performance.

If you want more on this, check out our white paper, The Engagement Paradox which goes into how we can transform engagement and get the very best from our team.

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