March 13, 2012
News & Opinion: The Art of Engagement
His book is called The Art of Engagement: Bridging the Gap Between People and Possibilities. The book starts by telling some great stories about situations that changed based on the level of engagement. When people understand each other, and when they understand the big picture, things can move forward smoothly under a shared momentum. When people don't understand these things, and when they only see situations from their own perspective, things don't move forward smoothly, and in effect hinder the movement of others involved. As the book explains, reality is a canyon between the engaged and non-engaged.
What happens next in the book is very interesting. A series of well-executed drawings are featured, detailing a variety of realist, yet conceptual, situations that define various challenges, systems, workflow, etc. Jim and his company (and the book) use these visualizations to create shared understanding. The idea is that by looking at visual representations together, people form understanding collectively. This clarity is absorbed as a group, as the picture reveals that everyone involved is a part of something bigger. This speaks not only to the issue at hand, but also taps into the fundamental human drive for being part of a tribe.
From there, people become the focus, not the problems or situations, and by understanding together, and working together, new heights in a company's culture and progress are reached. This, of course, gives leaders a better understanding of their people, and helps them further develop strategies that keep people engaged.
Word is that Jim has another book in the works, but don't miss this one as the groundwork to his interesting (and effective) ideas.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.