Their Faces Were Glowing!

I spent last Friday at YEACamp, an organization that teaches teens how to be successful change agents. The highlight of the day was when each camper stood in front of their 25 peers and 12 staff, gulped once, and then declared their action plan for the change that they want to bring about. When each camper finished, they remained standing to receive their much-deserved ovation. And they glowed! For most of them, their week at camp, culminating in this experience, is life-changing. It grounds them in understanding that they are a gift to the world, and that they can only be stopped if they allow it.

But, and there’s always a “but”, none of these youth can accomplish great things by themselves. It takes all of us, as a community, to continue to encourage them to greatness.

The same is true in our workplaces and our families and other organizations. We can choose to be supportive, helping each person become all they can be. Or we can choose to ignore people, leaving them to drift, unsupported. Or, we can choose to criticize, to find fault. It’s our choice. And our choice will determine the world that we and our children and our grandchildren live in.

I welcome feedback and conversation on this topic. 971-221-8155,

Gary Langenwalter

Secret of Employee Engagement

Many organizations are trying to improve employee engagement. Unfortunately, almost all of them are starting with an invalid assumption. They try to engage employees through a variety of methods, but their underlying assumption is that employees should be passionate about helping the organization achieve its goals. Period. As if achieving the organization’s goals is actually the primary passion of each employee. If they were to try to sell their products and services to the customers using the same mentality, they would fail.

What actually works is this: have a representative group of people from all levels and functions of the organization jointly create a culture that values the employees’ passion and purpose as well as the organization’s mission and goals. To be really radical, the organization could be open to revising its vision and mission to integrate the passion and purpose of its employees into its products and services. Such an organization does not have to worry about “motivating” its employees, or “engaging” its employees. They will be fully engaged and powerfully motivated, because the organization reflects their own personal values.

What’s going on in your organization that’s causing engagement?  What’s going on that causes disengagement?  I’d love to hear from you.

Gary Langenwalter, Managing Partner

Portland Consulting Group