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Building a Great Cathedral

Two stonemasons are working side by side when someone asks them what they are doing. The first mason replies, "I'm cutting stone." The second mason responds, "I'm building a great cathedral." A recent survey by Right Management Consultants highlights the significance of the different replies in this old story.

According to the Right survey, nearly two-thirds of workers don't know or don't understand their organization's business strategy. Furthermore, uncertainty about their employers' missions leaves employees feeling disengaged and results in low productivity, poor quality, customer complaints, and high turnover.

Right's findings implicate top management in creating employee disengagement by failing to communicate their organization's business strategies. Twenty-eight percent of surveyed organizations said they limit such communication to their leadership teams. Alarmingly, 15 percent are uncertain of the best way to communicate their business strategies to employees.

"Management's effective communication of the vision of the business to all employees, and how it can be lived in their daily jobs, is one of the biggest differentiators between engaged and disengaged work forces," said Right's Chris Gay. "Engagement and commitment improve dramatically when employees know what is expected of them, and how they fit into the total picture."

The ability to communicate powerfully a significance is critical to values-based leadership, but it requires skills disregarded by almost all business leaders. To lead effectively, you must inspire the behavior you are seeking. Values-based leaders identify shared aspirations--that is, they show how aligning with the purpose of the enterprise will help employees achieve their own goals and meet their own needs. Once workers see that connection, they'll become engaged and start contributing to the organization's ultimate success.
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