A recent American Management Association (AMA) survey
noted: “Executives admit that the majority of their
workforce is average or below average in communication
skills (62%), creativity (61%), collaboration (52%), and
critical thinking (49%).”
If one combines this AMA information with the fact that
statistics show that 71% of employees are “not engaged” or
“not actively engaged,” it is easy to see how companies
will not only have a problem competing within the U.S. but
will most likely be excluded from the global economy.
The fact is that there is a raging war for talent out
there with a limited number of superstars. As a result,
talent constraints are seriously damaging American
A 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that having (or
not having) the right talent in place can impact
innovation, market opportunities, the ability to deliver
on strategic initiatives, growth, and quality of output.
HR POINTER: With only so much talent available for hire,
companies need to maximize the talent they already have
However, companies cannot maximize available talent if
that workforce is not engaged. A disengaged workforce
will not excel at the AMA’s “four Cs” of communication,
creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.
The mistake leaders make in this situation is assuming
that the solution is to fix the visible top line numbers
such as “sell more,” “create faster,” etc. Unfortunately,
issues with the top line numbers are just symptoms.
The problems are generally structural issues within an
organization’s culture and approach to managing employees,
which puts people into that emotional state that is often
referred to as the Critter State.
The Critter State is that “fight, flight, or freeze” state
that fixates employees on their own survival, rather than
freely expressing the “four Cs” and thinking of ways to
move the company forward.
The solution is to create a managerial coaching process
and organizational culture that allows employees to feel
This safety concept may sound miles away from guru advice
like “tough-minded management” and other macho titles.
But the fact remains that when employees feel safe, rather
than threatened, they sell more, produce faster, and
dramatically impact a company’s bottom line.
Remember: Fear may push people to action, but fear is not
a sustainable strategy for competing.