Engagement & Productivity: What if you didn’t have to choose?

This article is the summary of the 6 posts in the July blog series featuring a revolutionary employee engagement concept called Engaged Productivity.  Read the other articles in the series here or at:  www.authentum.com.


Engagement and Productivity are a difficult and delicate balance.  Working to improve one, does not necessarily improve the other – at least, sustainably.  It can be so difficult to translate the different ‘languages’ of traditional assessment tools, activities and development outcomes into every task and every working relationship – every moment of every day – to improve the right performance (not to mention company-wide engagement)…


…According to research, misguided choices in engaging your people in productivity may be risking up to 30% of your productivity and more than 80% of your active employee engagement. [Possibly, including your own!]


What if you didn’t have to choose?  What if you could observe both, simultaneously and fairly, in support of every activity to grow your business – even as pressures rise and change occurs?


The Issue

Let’s face it.  You have a number of very important implementations (of seemingly separate initiatives) rolling out.  And, as time goes on, you notice a few ‘small storms’ brewing that risk the positive impact you need to make.


  • Slowdowns in the expected pace of change or strategic opportunities?
  • A post-buy-in dip in the morale of key team members?
  • Confusion as to next steps, due to new changes or rising pressure?
  • Conflicts that occur, due to stress?


…Many times, these storms end costing you more to calm, than the initial rollout.


The Opportunity in Engaged Productivity™

It may sound counter-intuitive to add an activity or what looks like another assessment tool, but if you could organize your people around their own systems language, in the individual and team models of Engaged Productivity™, then you may enable your people to calm some of the storms for themselves.


With the measures of engagement grounded in productivity, there is a quick, precise and predictive link to the unique working tasks and relationships that underpin the right performance.


I worked hard to make sure my blog series didn’t sound too much like one, big sales pitch.  (Though, I’m like you.  I do need to eat!)  But, I promise you that my initial concern was all about coming together – in the middle – with our various toys, to play in one big sandbox.  I am a fan of assessment tools and consulting projects.  I truly want their outcomes to work for both sides of the equation.  I also happen to have been lucky enough to sit at this intersection of business and behaviors for so long that I got a fantastic view of the situation-at-hand that too few of you might have been privy to.


So, let’s talk.  Whether you are a business leader, an HR director, a consultant or a coach.  I want to deepen the outcomes of your activities to develop people and the business, make them more sustainable and link them more directly to the bottom line.


Our Pilot Process

Yes, this is new stuff.  Okay, maybe some of this flies-in-the-face of what you thought you knew.  But, we all know there is pain.  And, we can start a pilot in your company, wherever you are.


I have been blown away by your interest and your excellent questions.  Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me!  Btw, our validated assessment system is decades old.  It is the way you use your models, inside your organization, that is the pilot.  In order to show my appreciation to this community, I intend to be intimately involved in the first, limited number, of your projects.  I can’t wait to get going…


So, tell me.  Where do we begin?


  • Shall we model your leaders, at any level, in your organization?
  • Shall we model an intact team that you want to focus on for engagement and/or productivity?
  • Shall we use your model(s) to complement a particular initiative that impacts your business in important ways?
  • Shall we model your whole (small-to-medium) organization around your unique strategic opportunities?  (Or your investment portfolio?)


I am looking for the kind of evolved HR/business leaders that wants to partner on these pilots.  With that in mind, I will be deeply discounting the cost of the initial pilot and I intend to create relevant PR releases and case studies that celebrate the steps you are taking to reinvent HR.


I am looking for 5 pilots to take on this Fall.
If you are truly interested, click here to sign up for your No-Obligation Review.



Ask yourself the following questions about the current state of your company-wide initiatives:

  •  Can you measure the precise performance impact of your people practices, individually and in teams?
  •  Can you link the engaging outcomes of assessments, HR activities and leadership practices to (the right) improvements to performance – now and for the future?
  •  Can you predict the impact that rising pressures at work will have on company-wide engagement and performance?


…And, finally, can you imagine designing this from one 20-min survey?


These new, systems models of Engaged Productivity™
transform the unique performance preferences, described by your people, into predictive analytics to run your business, in meaningful ways.



The Blog Series – A summary

If you haven’t seen the series, let me summarize the key messages intended to show you some factors necessary in reinventing HR.  If we are to reinvent this important conduit of business success, I believe that it should be expected to increase the right performance, sustainably, without sacrificing any employee’s path to engagement.


[Click the hyperlinks to be taken back to the original posts]


With engagement surveys that can only tell you a part of the story,
your activities must serve a definition of employee engagement that can be framed in complement to your organization’s goals.

Your ROE, or your return on investment for engaging your people in the right productivity, may only be found in a complex, systems solution that reinvents the relationship between HR and business.

Complementary activities, linking many (seemingly separate) business/HR initiatives, will inform fair and measurable paths to enhance the right performance in quick, precise and predictive ways – as you move closer toward your ideal culture.

Your business may flourish for the impact of flourishing individuals.



Thank you for the attention that you have given to this series on Engaged Productivity™.
I am flattered by your interest and buoyed by your support.

 And, a giant thank you to John Whitaker for his support in hosting this blog series on hrhardball.com! 

 You have engaged me in my own productivity, and I am personally grateful.



Engaged Productivity™ encompasses revolutionary new thinking to solve the employee engagement challenge in quick, precise and predictable ways. 

 Learn more at:  www.authentum.com.

Pamela Teagarden, Founder of Authentum™, started her career as a banker, before her post-graduate work in corporate behaviors and positive psychology gave her a front-row seat at the intersection of business and behaviors. 


Read more of her bio at:  www.authentum.com/about-us/
Follow Authentum on Twitter at:  @AuthentumAtWork


Trump – It’s No Longer a Gimmick

Note – Originally posted on LinkedIn, 8/10/15, but it keeps getting better. Highlighted any updates to this circus.

It was June 16th when The Hairpiece announced in his Presidential candidacy speech that “The Mexican government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, and rapists.” Not surprisingly, the reaction was one of disgust, and Trump found two of his most beloved branding opportunities, The Apprentice and the Miss USA Pageant, either cancelled or boycotted. He even had El Chapo use Twitter to threaten to “make him eat his words.” You gotta be pretty offensive to have a mass murdering, drug-dealing, convict on-the-lam actually take time to address you on Social Media.

That’ll shut him up.

Except it didn’t. The Donald continues to double-down on his rhetoric about illegal immigrants, has thrown in disparaging comments about Senator John McCain, and is directly calling out President Obama as “the worst ever.” He’s like J.R. Ewing, only not as likable.

And he’s gaining momentum.

Is Trump is a legitimate contender to be the Republican nominee for President? I’m not even sure he is committed to the cause, this whole “candidacy” could be from the Trump book of marketing – but I find this situation absolutely fascinating. Trump has an audience, and they are listening. You wonder if his camp is shocked by the support, considering the P.R. disaster this man can be. So why is this happening?

  • People believe him. I don’t know anyone in my network of professional contacts who would endorse Trump…(publicly, that is.) It’s not popular to admit supporting Trump, but polls show he has captured an issue people actually care about, whether they admit it or not. I don’t expect to see lawn signs appearing in my neighborhood, a straw poll would probably tell a different story.
  • He’s honest(ish). When he’s talking about illegal Mexican immigrants, you get the feeling that he’s pulling no punches. He’s now (loudly) reminding everyone he opposed the Iraq War [he did] and spelling out his militaristic plan to “take their oil, take their money, shut them down.” That may make him the only political candidate in the last 20 years to tell you exactly what his beliefs are. Even if they appall you. Our “professional” politicians are so talented in spin-doctoring that it’s nice to occasionally hear someone’s real opinion. If Trump ever had the opportunity to give a State of The Union address, it would be can’t-miss TV ~ when was the last time that happened?
  • We are starved for leadership. This is reminiscent of Ross Perot’s brief foray into the Presidential race. America wants a boss. At some point, the political correctness of our elected leaders becomes intolerable. Somebody,anybody, show us a plan, give us direction, show some conviction, make a stand, and tell us how to make this country great again. Compare that to Hillary’s continued bet-hedging with her email “scandal.” She’s exemplifying what we already think about politicians – you have to think Trump would have said “yes, I did that, so what? By the way, lose 15 pounds.” Which brings us to…
  • We love hot dogs. Yep, we just don’t want to see how they’re made. Trump promises to “make America strong again,” which implies two separate messages: 1) America is currently weak, and; 2) he’s got a plan to put America back on top where it belongs. It could be quite ugly, cruel, and difficult to digest if we pay too much attention to how that happens, but all’s well that ends well… pass the mustard.

So why not Trump? I’m sure it terrifies Democrats (and Republicans) to think of Donald Trump as POTUS. He’s brash, arrogant, bombastic, and prone to being offensive – you know, an American. He outdid himself with his comments about Megyn Kelly & dared to bite the Fox hand that feeds the Republican party; even Hillary saw that one as an opportunity – but he’s still moving ahead. But his gaining popularity in the current polls promise he has caught the attention of those who may have initially dismissed him.

So, as Trump stirs the controversy cocktail early in the political race, consider for a minute the message behind the madness. Trump may very well be the candidate who sets a topic ablaze (i.e., immigration) and then steps back to watch the fire, but don’t be surprised when you see a “kinder” version of his stance from one of his counterparts in the Republican primary. Did you see Ted Cruz come out in support of  Trump? Not necessarily for “how” he said things but specifically for bring the illegal immigration topic to light. Politicians go where the votes are; if Trump continues to whip their collective butts in the debates, get your popcorn ready, ’cause it’s going to be a circus.

He’s loud, rude, crude, and somewhat of a bully (ask Rosie O’Donnell); his speeches seem designed specifically to cause angst and debate. He’s now been “dis-invited” from a Conservative event in Atlanta because of his inappropriate comments about Megyn Kelly’s moderator behavior ~ you have to know that for an anti-hero like Trump, that’s the LAST thing Republican leaders should do as it only lends credence to the possibility that the established political leadership (read as “political correctness”) fears him. Fascinating stuff, really.

And it’s working.


Force = Mass x Acceleration (+HR)

“F = M x A (+HR)” is the fourth in a 10-part series outlining the concepts included in “The Physics of HR; Mastering the Laws of Motion,” the Whitaker joint set to publish in mid-2016.

“My job is to make people move.” That’s been the overall theme to this discussion to date, in case I haven’t bludgeoned you to death with imagery already. That’s my job as an HR professional and as a leader of people, as it is for all of you. But the really good ones have also mastered the next part of the equation; “how?”

Newton’s Second Law of Motion sounds more complicated than it is, but can be summarized into a fairly simple explanation; “if you exert the same force on two objects of different mass, you will get different accelerations.

Pretty simple, right? Except the fact that our “objects” are people; that requires that we flip our thinking on this particular law to allow for reverse engineering. Meaning that before any “force” is exerted, we need to determine the desired outcome.

not to be confused with FLMA
not to be confused with FMLA

We see this happen quite a bit in Merger Integration – established deadlines and expected outcomes drive the method of combining two (or more) separate entities. Communicating a 90-day window to realize $2M in efficiencies will effectively drive the forcefulness of the process and will also help target the appropriate “objects.”

Where this process gets muddier is when we don’t have the same structure surrounding a situation. Employee Relations issues are a great example; a situation occurs that requires our immediate intervention, so we will (in most cases) revert to an established protocol we have used in the past. In other words, we’re using the “same force on objects of different mass” but we’re expecting the same acceleration to a desired result.

This is a common trap for Human Resources. We are prone to following a set protocol without necessarily applying the right Science. Sometimes we don’t feel empowered to change the methodology, sometimes we feel hemmed in by the all-encompassing fear of “legal” ramifications, and sometimes we just don’t know any other way.

By modifying the equation, we can start looking at the desired result, then factor in the “mass” of the object (no fat jokes here, please), before determining the amount of force needed to get there. As #WorkplaceScientists we can still experiment without blowing up the lab, but experiment we must!

Next up: Newton’s Third Law of Motion, where the fun really starts…


If Culture eats Strategy for breakfast – Let’s make it a balanced meal

This article is the sixth in a series featuring a revolutionary employee engagement concept called Engaged Productivity™.   Read the other articles in the series here or at:  www.authentum.com.


As it stands, breakfast really isn’t a bad analogy.  There seem to be as many ‘brands’ of culture as there are breakfast cereals.  Are you hoping to describe your organizational culture as Irresistible?  Humanistic?  Purposeful?  Happy?  …Some other (mostly) ‘people-centered’ word?  Or, would you say Innovative? Customer Service?  LEAN?  Collaborative? …Another (sort of) ‘process-oriented’ description?  Well, they all sound pretty good to me.  And, of course, really, really important.  Because, as Drucker points out – “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.


The caveat?  That goes for whatever your culture is, at any moment.  So, then, what do we do if any part of our culture is less than ideal?  [Please, please don’t say culture change…  Because if we aren’t there in the first place, then what are we changing?]


As we continue with the breakfast theme [it IS the most important meal of the day, you know]  …Just how important is culture, then?  Research points out that companies with higher performance-enhancing cultures outperformed those that did not – in hugely significant ways…


  • More than a 500% increase in revenue,
  • More than a 200% increase in employee growth,
  • More than a 700% increase in net income,


So, pick your brand of culture.  Are you sure it’s enhancing the right performance, in every moment?  My guess is that many of you aren’t so sure.  So, let’s look at the key ingredients we need, for a breakfast-of-culture-champions.

 culture definition on eggs for the internal pic


Aspirational models may not be ideal

Your ideal culture model promises that ‘when your employees reach […Insert name of your ‘brand’…], you can expect greater performance.


Okay, sure.  It can be great to have ideal models to aspire to.  It’s just that, alone, this is not enough.  Need proof?  For a couple of decades, we have seen no change.  We still count less than 20% of the employees as actively engaged in enhancing performance, even with all of the money and effort that companies have invested in building (and trying to change) their corporate culture. 


What are your people supposed to do – in the very next task they take on – BEFORE they reach your ideal?  Exactly how are they to ideally enhance performance, especially through rising pressure, and aspire to be who you want them to be?  Plus, they have to engender these ideals in everyone else, as well…  As far as I can tell, you’ve just told your people how-far-they-are-from-ideal and prescribed more stuff for them to do… before anyone can hope for (the right?!) enhanced performance.


Prescribing and describing ‘enhanced’ performance

Think for a moment about a typical culture activity.  Leaders (mostly) prescribe the values and processes necessary to achieve the ideal culture, sharing ‘who’ the employees should be and ‘what’ they need to do to enhance performance…   A part of the rollout is usually some level of ‘buy-in’ to these ideals.  But, no matter how nicely this step is taken; over time, compliance may be the only result.  [It’s a bit like asking everybody to order breakfast from a set menu!]


My findings validate that this kind of  (even unintended) compliant culture will eventually suffer for dis-engagement – which in turn hinders further increases to performance.  Some new measures that I found to serve your culture – are pretty simple.  Allow your employees to describe ‘how’ they choose to perform, in specific ways, to personalize their own path toward your ideal culture model and to engage them, uniquely, in enhancing performance.  According to Barbara Fredrickson, in her book, “Positivity”, when people intentionally order their goals [in performance], they are engaged in their work.


By prescribing the right organizational performance and describing the individuals’ preferential mindsets that underpin their performance, leaders have a dashboard-like-view of how to engage their people in enhancing the right performance – even as they transition toward your ideal culture.  In my research, I call this Engaged Productivity™.  [That, to me, is the ideal for any business.]



To share is fair.

To understand culture is one thing.  To ‘share’ in company-wide commitment to it is another.  [Everybody can read the menu, but isn’t it better when each individual can choose his/her own breakfast?]


My research on Engaged Productivity™
unveiled a system that models, from one quick survey,
how employees choose to perform – in the context of the organization’s actual strategic priorities, in precise and predictive ways…


– Organizing your strategic working processes, more precisely around the performance preferences of your people;

– Predicting personalized paths for all your people toward your ideal culture characteristics

…Even as changes occur and pressures rise.


Balancing that breakfast-analogy between what people want (the culture) and what people need to do (the strategy), sounds like a great way to start every day and bring home the bacon!



Next up… Productivity and Engagement:  What if you didn’t have to choose?Engaged Productivity™



Engaged Productivity™ encompasses revolutionary new thinking to solve the employee engagement challenge in quick, precise and predictable ways.  

Learn more at:  www.authentum.com.



Pamela Teagarden, Founder of Authentum™, started her career as a banker, before her post-graduate work in corporate behaviors and positive psychology gave her a front-row seat at the intersection of business and behaviors.


Read more of her bio at:  www.authentum.com/about-us/
Follow Authentum on Twitter at:  @AuthentumAtWork