Breaking the cycle of limited engagement and performance

Every year we see over $500B in lost productivity due to one main issue – which is connected to people and how we interact and lead.

Gallup’s annual survey on engagement at the workplace has identified employee engagement continuously around 30%, which means about 70% of today’s US workforce is either passively or actively disengaged (in other words “checked out”).

According to GALLUP, engaged employees look like this and have the following impact on an organization:

“Gallup categorizes workers as “engaged” based on their ratings of key workplace elements …, such as having an opportunity to do what they do best each day, having someone at work who encourages their development and believing their opinions count at work. …. Engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work. …Employee engagement is strongly connected to ….productivity, profitability and customer engagement. Engaged employees drive the innovation, growth and revenue that their companies need” –, Feb. 8, 2016 –

Engaged employees have a positive multiplier effect on any organization. The notion that engagement directly correlates with growth and profitability has been confirmed years ago in studies like this published in 1994 by Harvard Business Review related to the Service Profit Chain (see below). In summary:  Leadership directly influences employee satisfaction- and productivity which in turn increases customer satisfaction- and loyalty which ultimately leads to higher profits and growth. As described it is a chain, meaning the steps are connected and it all starts at the top.














How come employee engagement/satisfaction has not improved over the last many years since the numbers came out? How come despite many well intended initiatives, leadership seminars, courses and books on leadership, these numbers have not improved for the benefit of corporations and their employees?

In my opinion there is one area that has been underestimated – that is the power of “homeostasis” of the human mind. Homeostasis meaning a system “standing still”, “staying the same” according to Webster, or in others words “staying in the comfort zone”.  People/Leaders change, when they make the decision to change, not when they are told to.

 “You can not teach a person anything, you can only help them find it within themselves” – Galileo Gallilei

Here is where coaching can make a real difference and bridge the gap between Management and Leadership.

Coaching is a behavior change process that develops people “from the inside out” by working with them to shift mental paradigms and stretch their belief boundaries. Performance is usually consistent with our beliefs. We all have developed many times unconscious beliefs about:

  • Who we are
  • What we are capable of
  • What level of rewards we deserve

Coaching supports people in expanding their unconscious boundaries.









Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being” – Goethe –


Let’s train leaders to Build People instead of managing problems!

5 Coaching tips for leaders & free E-Book


With increased competition for resources, labor and market share, organizations are racing to find, develop and retain the best. Leading companies know that winning takes smart, dedicated people who are willing and able to work hard and work smart.

The good news is, you don’t have to rely on superhuman talent. In fact, every organization has what it takes to build a winning edge. You just have to create the workplace environment that unleashes it. And that means you have to focus on developing and encouraging leaders to build people.

Getting Intentional

The right approach and skills have to be developed—and this is just as much about  leaders and managers as it is about the employees they’re coaching. A study by Bersin & Associates found that the organizations that effectively prepare managers to coach are 130% more likely to realize stronger business results.

If you want to help your organization reach its business goals and win the performance race, you need to equip your leaders with the right skills, process and attitude to foster a safe, positive environment that encourages growth and constructive communication.

Here are 5 coaching practices to focus on to create a coaching culture that delivers next-level results:

  1. Ask open-ended questions about goals and challenges.

Instead of asking yes or no questions or discussing baseline expectations, effective coaches engage employees by asking questions to really get to know them and their plans for the future.

  1. Give constructive feedback on a regular basis.

Frequently giving feedback or forward focused information to employees lets them know how they are doing in the moment.

  1. Ensure employees know that you are listening.

Building trust is essential for helping employees and the business succeed. Employees who are struggling with a task or have ideas for improvement will only come forward if they know their voice matters.

  1. Recognize and praise employees when they improve

Put another way, leaders should be reinforcing the behaviors and skills they want to see because that’s what makes people more likely to continue doing them. The most effective coaches are the ones who coach and praise “in the moment.”

  1. Believe employees can grow and improve.

This is one of the most important coaching practices—and often the single factor that separates the winning coaches from all the rest. Leaders who believe mediocrity is all an employee is capable of, will create or reinforce a barrier that the employee won’t be able to break through.

In my opinion winning in today’s challenging business environment starts with an organizational ecosystem that supports coaching.

Some myths and questions swirl around coaching, like “What makes a coach effective?”, or “Do different generations need different coaching techniques?”, “How can I spread the coach-approach throughout my team?”

free E-Book is now available with answers to these important questions and more. It provides an outline for using coaching in the workplace, including:

  • A strong business case for coaching
  • A coaching self-assessment
  • 5 practices of great coaches

The E-Book was put together by our friends at Integrity Solutions. Feel free to request it here and we will be happy to share it with you.

InterKon now Licensed Partner for Integrity Solutions® programs

We are proud to annouce our new alliance with Integrity Solutions® to offer their unique programs.

Our focus will be to support companies in rolling out a coaching leadership culture that builds people and reliefs leaders from managing problems and underperforming team members. Integrity Coaching® is an 8-week team training/coaching program tailored to leaders of all levels who want to broaden their coaching skills for a significant improvement of overall performance, employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Feel free to read more about this topic in our Feb. Newsletter

Link to Feb. 2016 Newsletter – Coaching

Contact us directly:

Please contact us to receive a free consultation on the benefits of team coaching


New book: The Handbook of Human Resources Management

Mr. Mueller recently co-authored a chapter in the 1200 page Springer Media “Handbook of Human Resources Management” on the topic of  “Search for International Executive Talent”. Here is an excerpt of the chapter. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested to receive futher information on the topic.


Living Reference Work EntryHandbook of Human Resources Management
Date: 20 October 2015 Latest Version

Copyright: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Human Resources Marketing and Recruiting: Search for International Executive Talent
Gustav Mueller



As large and middle market companies increasingly become global enterprises in order to grow and to survive, their structures and organizations have to adapt and grow in the home region as well as in their subsidiaries. One of the challenges for leadership and human resources is finding and integrating the right kind of talent in key positions abroad. The language, culture, management style, and the way of doing business are unique in every country and region across the globe. Successful corporations have learned, many times through trial and error, to adapt to the “local way” in order to gain respect with customers and employees in the respective countries. However, the first obstacle to overcome is to gain awareness of this fact, to accept it at all levels, and then to execute this strategy successfully. The cooperation of all departments and levels is required to strategize, plan, and implement a global workforce strategy with a global perspective and local insight. “Think globally, act locally” is an often used phrase that also to some extent applies to global talent acquisition efforts. Is this a task for HR? Yes, but not on their own. Business leaders drive strategy and guide the team to achieve the vision. Business leaders know what is required locally and on global scale to win and sustain successful business relationships. Business practices span across international borders since multinational customers now have global operations that expect a uniform standard and often demand a key account approach, as well as a local contact and fulfillment entity. Therefore, companies doing business with multinational customers are forced to drive a dualistic approach and be global but with local offerings and delivery. Broken down from that, a clear profile of talent can be defined that will be best suited to execute on that strategy. But aside from education, skills, and experience of candidates that fit that bill, a deciding factor will be cultural fit – cultural fit in terms of company culture as well as country culture. Culture is a soft factor and especially on the company/corporate level not always defined or written down. Many things have to come together to find the right people to fit in that environment and are equipped to achieve sustained success. Finding, selecting, and then hiring should be a joint effort between HR and the business leadership. Done right in a collaborative fashion, finding and integrating the best players will have a multiplier effect on an organization and can catapult an organization to new levels. There are several aspects that decide how successful recruiting and hiring will play out.

Search for International Executive Talent

A Changing International Leadership Challenge

What is leadership? For the purpose of this article, it represents a leadership-driven culture that cascades down from the very top to the second and third levels below depending on the size of the organization.

Filling leadership roles always has been and seems to be an even more important issue now facing organizations around the globe. Most multinational organizations are aware of the importance and sometimes urgency to recruit and attract the very best to lead their global or regional organizations. The question is, are companies equipped with the right mind-set, knowledge, and tools to take on the global leadership acquisition challenge?

Every century since the industrial revolution has brought change, new ideas, and new constraints to businesses, but now organizations face the new landscape of a now global economy operating at a rapid pace across borders. A paradigm change has started, stemming from new demands and immense technological advancements that will possibly also widen the gap between generations and their management/leadership styles. A mainstream leadership style has and is undergoing change as a result of large corporate ethics scandals in previous decades and partially perceived management failures before and during the last major recession in the year 2008 and following…..

Link to Springer Media: Handbook of Human Resources Management

Please contact us to receive further information on this topic

Key for Change – Internal Drivers

“People will do something – including changing their behavior – only if it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interest as defined by their own values”
Marshall Goldsmith

To realize sustainable change and change in behavior, it is necessary to not only identify the external goal one wants to achieve, but also connect this goal with the true inner motivation. When discovering the inner motivation for pursuing a particular goal, one can better connect purpose and passion.

Purpose and passion are critical because they uncover the emotion which drives forward action. Emotions can trigger action.

By connecting a challenging goal to passion and motivation, a coach allows a client to tap into a new source of energy.

Uncovering the inner motivators and emotional triggers will support goal achievement as now one can change items from a “To Do List” to a “Wanto Do List”.

(curated from Marshall Goldsmith, Executive Coach)

The Cost of Turnover – The Value of Engagement

Minimizing turnover is significantly more cost effective than churning through new hires. In a knowledge-based economy, corporations and products are increasingly specialized, so retaining experience and brain pool does count heavily.

When looking at the cost of turnover one should look at the total cost model. Direct costs and opportunity costs are to be factored in.

Costs to off-board employee
+ Cost to hire replacement
+ Transition costs
+ Costs related to disruption of talent pipeline and dip in motivation

= Total costs of turnover

On average it is estimated that turnover costs are between 150 % – 300% of the base salary of the lost employee.

Performance and Engagement

Over 70 % of the American workforce that goes to work every day is not engaged in their role, according to large scale annual studies (Gallup). Therefore businesses essentially operate at less than 30% of their capacity because team members are not contributing to their full potential. The lost opportunity is immense — but so is the opportunity for growth.

Engaged and fulfilled employees are the building blocks   to every successful organization. They use their talents, develop strong and productive relationships, and multiply their effectiveness through those relationships. They perform at consistently high levels. They drive innovation and move their organizations forward.

Connected leaders can develop engaged employees, create a sense of ownership, common visions and milestones. Connected leaders support key performers in staying focused and to operate contently at their highest levels.

Leadership – The Key Differentiator in Talent Acquisition/Engagement

Anyone who is looking for team members that put the needs of a corporation and it’s customers before their own, should put their team members first.

Top-down management methods have shown to be increasingly less effective as we now live and work in a knowledge-based economy.

Leadership science has shown that democratic-style leaders are better suited in dealing with the complexity and rapid change of today’s business environment. A connected leadership model is focused on fostering high- performance, creative team work, global inclusion and operational excellence.

Developing individual strength and improving performance through a coaching style approach is an ideal way to go from good to great.