Meaningful and effective engagement is fundamental to meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. Gone are the days in which it is sufficient to have leaders carry the weight of organizational change.

In Dick Axelrod’s great book “Terms of Engagement”, he suggests that change management is an oxymoron, explaining his belief that “you offend people when you think you can manage them into changing.” He goes on to explain that old change management is based on beliefs like, “the few decide for the many; solutions first, people second; fear builds urgency”, while the new change management requires us to “widen the circle of involvement, connect people to each other, create communities for action, and promote fairness”. 

Beyond Axelrod’s excellent work, I see evidence everywhere of folks wanting to work differently, question traditional organizational structures and decision-making, dispose of hierarchies and command and control systems, and move to new paradigms for building the future.

Whatever the myriad ways in which new forms of organizing work and communities emerge, I know that engagement and widespread participation will be key. I spent two days this week training folks with MN Technology of Participation™ (MnToP) in facilitation methodologies. ToP™ facilitation tools are some of the most effective ways I have experienced for effectively engaging groups, allowing them to creatively leverage their wisdom and build ownership for shared action. People leave the trainings energized and hopeful. One woman said, “I am 45 years old and I can honestly say that is the best training I have ever attended.”  People are hungry for change, eager to contribute in new and meaningful ways. And I love helping organizations figure how to do this well. Let me know if you are interested in connecting to the ToP™ training or looking at ways to increase your employee engagement.