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This is your source for principles to communicate, engage, and lead with greater impact. The Engaging Leader podcast, blog, videos, and more will help you inspire trust, passion, and action!
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MWHeatherpic-2013“At first, we didn’t believe him, that this highly accomplished star in our field was interested in not just teaching us but in learning from us,” my wife Erin said. “But then we saw by his actions that he really meant it.”

Erin had just returned from her first time attending the annual week-long Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp, which sounds to me like a grown-ups’ version of high-school band camp. Well, most of the “campers” were not yet adults, and the age ranged from 11 up to 61, but the maturity level and skill level was adult-caliber. All of the students had at least four years of experience; most of them had much more. The faculty leaders were world-famous in their field — nobody I would know, but superstars within their genres.

Erin had just completed her fourth year of violin lessons, so she was very conscious of being one of the lowest-skilled students at the camp.

At the beginning of the camp, she was awestruck around the faculty leaders. She carried three assumptions, which the leaders quickly turned on their head:

Assumption: The leaders would teach advanced skills but would be protective of their own cutting-edge techniques (the secrets behind their signature grooves).

Reality: The leaders freely shared everything that would be helpful to the students, and anything else they were interested in. “Hey, check this out,” Tracy Silverman told the class, and showed them a funky new sound from a “strum bowing” technique. He even let them gather close and video his fingers on their iPhones while he demonstrated at various speeds just how his technique works. Rather than sharing information on a need-to-know basis, leaders shared information out of sheer passion, fun, and interest in the students’ growth. It reminded me of the open-source movement in software: the more we share, the more we all advance.

Assumption: The leaders would insist that Erin develop technical excellence (perfection) before teaching her any funky rock techniques (fun, game-changing stuff).

Reality: The leaders insisted that students have fun with their instrument, pushing them to learn and try new things even when they hadn’t yet mastered earlier lessons. “You don’t work music,” founder Mark Wood said, “you play it.” Along the way, they encouraged and watched the students — and took note when students attempting the techniques stumbled on fresh sounds that even the leaders wanted to learn. Which leads to the final point…

Assumption: The learning would be a one-way process. Like gods, the leaders would descend from “on high,” to transmit knowledge to the students.

Reality: Repeatedly, Erin heard faculty leaders commenting that this was their favorite week of the year, because they themselves learned so much from the students. It sounded like a cliché until mid-week, when Erin discovered some of the faculty trying stuff they picked up from students of all ages. Some leaders even incorporated new sounds and improvisations into songs they were in the process of composing.

In a Nutshell

  • Sharing and serving … will take you farther than worrying about secrecy, competitive advantage, and politics.
  • Passion and fun … will lead to performance, excellence, and growth.
  • Humility and learning … will lead to creativity and innovation.

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at jesse@engagingleader.com, subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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WHE14: The 6 Drivers of Behavioral Engagement

by Joe Sherwood on August 25, 2014

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This episode is the second in a two-part series about leading a health behavioral change. Episode 13 focused on leading a fairly straightforward change, such as influencing employees to get a biometric health screening or to take a financial wellness assessment. Episode 14 addresses leading a more complex change effort, such as influencing employees to take the recommended actions that will improve their physical or financial health.

Our behavioral engagement model is based on the research and theories discussed in the book Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, written by social scientist David Maxfield and his coauthors.

Behavioral Engagement Model

The model recognizes two domains that drive behavior: motivation and ability. Other well-known models for behavioral change, such as the Fogg Behavior Model, also recognize these key elements.

These domains are divided into personal, social, and structural sources – reflecting psychology, social psychology, and organization theory, respectively. As a result of the two domains and three spheres, the model comprises six drivers of behavioral engagement.

If the behavior you’re trying to change is supported by only one source of influence, changing that one might be sufficient to improve results. However, when you’re facing longstanding, highly resistant habits, you’re typically up against many – if not all six – sources of influence. So think about it: if six sources are driving a bad habit and you address only one, what do you predict will happen. If you answer, “Nothing,” you’re right.

~ From Influencer.

In this episode, we explain the Behavorial Engagement model, share examples, and discuss how the model can be used to develop an engagement strategy as well as evaluate an existing strategy to identify gaps.

Joining Jesse on the show once again is Terry Sherwood, his colleague from Aspendale Communications. Terry has over 25 years of experience helping companies communicate effectively with their employees. Her diverse background in human resources, corporate communications, and marketing provides a blend of creativity and practicality that delivers results. Terry has held senior consulting positions with several large consulting firms, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Towers Watson.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Subscription Links

iTunes Stitcher RSS

Your Feedback

If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at jesse@engagingleader.com, subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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094: Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation | with Greg Brandeau

August 15, 2014

Are you a leader who builds teams that innovate again and again? Creating and sustaining an organization that is consistently innovative is extremely difficult (and rare). Conventional leaders see their role as conjuring up a vision and inspiring others to make it happen. The best leaders of innovation see their role quite differently. Former Pixar […]

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If You Don’t Lead Innovation, You Aren’t a Leader. (And you won’t stay in business very long.)

August 11, 2014

Conventional wisdom says creativity is the realm of advertising, and innovation the job of product development. We wouldn’t expect to find the IT or Finance departments bursting with innovation. But Google could never have grown from a startup in 1998 to the market dominator, with over one million servers, without an IT team that was […]

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Leading Behind the Flock

August 8, 2014

While reading the new book Collective Genius in preparation for my upcoming interview with former Pixar tech wizard Greg Brandeau, I was reminded by this powerful insight: “A leader … is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along […]

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093: The Pure-Hearted Leader: The Surprising Relevance of an Ancient Concept

August 4, 2014

Back in 2000, Jesse was helping an executive at one of the world’s largest companies develop a communication plan. As they were working through the key messages, the executive got tripped up on one of the words Jesse was recommending. He thought the word and even the concept might be dated, old-fashioned. The word was […]

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Putting Time in the Leadership Saddle

July 25, 2014

This past week, a buddy and I were completing our final training ride (60 miles) in preparation for my longest race scheduled for the year, a 100-mile “century” cycling race this coming week. Since our last ride together, we both had acquired new gear. Sam had bought his first cycling shoes and clipless pedals. I had my first padded […]

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WHE13: How to Move Employees from Awareness to Action

July 24, 2014

This episode is the first in a two-part series about leading a health behavioral change. Episode 13 focuses on leading a fairly straightforward change, such as influencing employees to get a biometric health screening or to take a financial wellness assessment. Episode 14 will address leading a more complex change effort, such as influencing employees […]

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092: 7 Keys to Clarity and Conciseness

July 14, 2014

Back in episode 89, about the Power of Brevity, we discussed why brevity works and provided four tips for being brief yet powerful. In these tips, clarity leads to brevity, and vice versa. Now, contrast that with most of the corporate-level communication that companies provide their employees. Whether it’s a letter or email from the […]

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091: Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change | with David Maxfield

July 3, 2014

All successful leaders have to be good at leading progress. And science has found that successful leaders, from CEOs to parents, have a common set of principles and skills that help create quick, profound, and lasting change in people and organizations. David Maxfield, New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and social scientist for organizational change, […]

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WHE12: Beyond “Biggest Loser” Contests: Creating a True Culture of Health | with Mary Pitman from Norfolk Southern

June 26, 2014

The popular weight-loss reality TV show “The Biggest Loser” has inspired many companies to hold weight loss contests for their employees. People love the idea of experiencing fast weight loss, and the idea of a friendly competition seems fun. But while “The Biggest Loser” makes for great reality TV, does it make for a great […]

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090: How to Bridge the Workplace Generation Gap | with David Maxfield

June 15, 2014

Can people of different generations work together productively, or do their differences lead only to conflict? According to a new study from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and social scientist for organizational change David Maxfield, unaddressed tension and resentment between Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials is sapping productivity in corporate America. […]

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