Honor Thy Father and Mother... and Other Bad Advice

By Michael Kline

My life is nearly perfect. I do what I want, when I want, with whom I want. I enjoy good health, positive people, good food, good wine and a nice home.  I work when I want and enjoy more creature comforts than I ever thought I deserved. In fact, my biggest worry in life is that I don’t mess it up after coming so far. This is the story I was telling myself. You must admit, it is a pretty good story for a college drop-out, born to a drunk in a junkyard.

Cancer took our mother when I was 7. As the 11th of 12 children, 4 of us were adopted by an Aunt and Uncle who, in their better than their own past, middle-class way, tried their best to fix us. They never let me forget their disappointing discovering that in spite of their well-educated efforts, you can “take the boy out of the junkyard, but you can’t take the junkyard out of the boy”. Big Lie #1 - You’re no good.

“You have to have a 4 year degree to be worth anything”  Big Lie #2 – Credentials define you, and you are not enough without credentials.

“Your sister is going to become a nurse. (She did). She will take care of us when we are old. (She didn’t). Girls become teachers, secretaries or nurses. Since you are a boy, you need to grow up to be a lawyer or something (I didn’t) because you have to support a family one day”. (I didn’t do that either). Big Lie #3 – You cannot just do what you want.

I could argue that I got my perfect life because I believed these lies. I set small goals that I could achieve and achieved every one of them. I dropped out of college, bucked the system, fired the boss and went out on my own. I believed I was not good enough to subject myself to the judgment of others; a problem I solved by becoming my own boss. I believed that I would never make it as a professional, so I decided to create a little success doing anything that was easy to learn without an authority figure to judge me. Without a boss or teacher, my partner and I went into flipping houses, then the food business and then retail, each creating a little success. Life was perfect and easy, until one day someone asked me if I had a purpose.

Purpose? I have to make a living, that’s all I was ever taught. Purpose is a grandiose concept for spiritual leaders, philosophers and politicians. My purpose is to raise a family, make a living, pay off the mortgage and die. Looking at it that way, I was not following the plan at all. As a gay man, I chose not to raise a family, which admittedly, renders making a living much easier. We already owned three homes with no mortgages, and at fifty years old, in good health and bored, having a purpose for the second half of my life intrigued me. Maybe my life was not really perfect.

It turns out my core strengths are my capacity to love, my optimism and my creativity. The work I do when I am most lost in time, in “the flow” as they say, is teaching in a way that truly opens eyes and inspires my students. The concept of a more ideal world that excites me is that anyone and everyone should have the chance to flourish. The junkyard that could not be taken out of this boy turned out to be a blessing. Three lessons from the junkyard: Resourcefulness is more important than resources. We all have the ability to create something out of nothing. What we choose to be, do and have is entirely our own responsibility. Cross off lie #1. You are good.

None of my skills are taught in college, while a degree in chemical engineering, for which I had a full scholarship, would not build my credibility in transformational work. My intuition and wisdom at an early age however, to abandon such a wasteful pursuit, is a reflection of my natural skills to discern what is helpful and what is not. Cross off Lie #2. You define you, not credentials.

Music was my passion as a teenager; specifically the French Horn. I was good. Very good, if I do say so myself. And I do. As I lost myself in my room, practicing hours at a time, I would close my eyes and be playing first chair in the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall. On parental advice, I abandoned music to join the Air Force Junior ROTC in high school, which would almost guarantee me a scholarship, as would be required to pay for all-important college education. I have since collected a lifetime of evidence that every appealing venture I chose was successful and every unappealing thing I was pushed into was a failure. Cross of Lie #3. You can do and you deserve to do anything you like.

Today, my life is no longer perfect. Today I have a purpose and I pursue my passions. I am extra-blessed because my purpose and passion helps other people pursue theirs. All my successes, even created on my own terms, were still defined by the expectations of others. I was successful, as long as all I had to do was make a living. To live a life engaged, on purpose, with meaning and joy is perfect – perfectly messy, unpredictable, scary seemingly irresponsible to some parental models. Perfect indeed. 

Be Your Own Boss Part 2

By Michael Kline
In our last article, we talked about the great American Dream – Whether that is to create your own empire, open a neighborhood shop, or build a consultancy from a spare bedroom, most of us have had some desire to be our own boss.  We discussed the popular reasons for starting out on your own such are creating income, personal freedom, self-expression, autonomy and creating wealth.
If you missed part in, you can catch up at www.intus.life/articles. If you read the last article, you should have decided by now if your goal is to own a business or to own a job – you understand the difference between being self-employed, and working for your own company. You understand something about creating equity in the business. You understand how that might influence your growth and exit strategies.  Having an intellectual understanding of your business purpose, however, does not mean that it makes sense to you in your gut or your heart. It may be time to listen to your gut and/or your heart, so how do you have a conversation with your gut and heart without getting yourself locked up? I thought you would never ask!
Emotions first occur in our body. It makes sense that when you think of something that really bothers you, you feel it in your stomach first – maybe it’s public speaking, or heights, or conflict with a boss who scheduled you for an unexpected meeting, or spiders. Whatever it is, most of us have something that we feel in our body, an instant before our mind has a chance to give it any meaning.  Feelings are the meaning we attach to the emotions that hit our bodies. This suffering is optional. We choose to give these meaning, based on our paradigm – which I define as our point of view with baggage. We all have our own perception of how things are and how things “should” be. We each have a long personal history with a lot of evidence that supports our position that public speaking is deadly – worse than spiders, which are scary, but not as bad as bosses. I tell you all this, because now that you recognize that emotions occur in the body, I invite you to listen to your gut – it is not just a figure of speech, but a common sense, practical thing to do, given that your gut knows the truth about what you should do with major decisions in your life. Sometimes our heart and mind is at odds with our gut, but most of us when talking about business decisions, let our heads do most of the thinking and ignore the heart and gut.  It is time to call a whole-body meeting.
I have been lucky enough to assist on Jack Canfield’s team at his International success retreats. This month we had over 300 students, representing 32 counties and every imaginable profession, economic, political and religious persuasion.  One of my jobs is to host private sessions with participants who get blocked with emotional or physical issues. It was a very busy and productive week for all involved. Working one on one with successful people from all walks of life, we discovered and rediscovered the power of finding resources such as strength, wisdom and answers from within ourselves. With the right methods, including some Canfield methodology as well as techniques I learned from the RIM Institute, we can strip away years of frustration, financial blocks, strongly held beliefs and assumptions to heal emotional and physical pain and reveal clarity and freedom to move forward on life’s most important goals. Even people with years of therapy under their belt, often find new paths to releasing ideas they thought were a permanent part of their identity. In truth, it does not matter whether we are talking about money, business, personal relationships or health, the blocks and beliefs that keep us back in one, often limits us in many areas of our life.     
Like most decisions, business decisions should involve the mind along with the heart and gut.  To learn more about how we actually facilitate a literal conversation with the mind, heart and gut, visit www.intus.life/rim.
Michael Kline is a Certified RIM Facilitator and Canfield Success Trainer for personal and group transformation. You can reach him through his website www.intus.life, or e-mail, mike@intus.life.

Be Your Own Boss

Would You? Could You? Should You?

By Michael Kline
as published in Conway Daily Sun
The great American Dream – Whether that is to create your own empire, open a neighborhood shop, or build a consultancy from a spare bedroom, most of us have had some desire to be our own boss.  I have interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs and want-repreneurs about the topic.  Reasons for starting out on your own are as varied as the business ideas available. Top reasons include creating income, personal freedom, self-expression, autonomy and creating wealth.
I listed creating income and wealth as two separate categories. A livable wage/income can be created with relative ease, without necessarily creating a business entity that has equity or wealth attached to it. The simple question is do you want to own a job or own a business?  Most startups come to me with an idea that would allow then to make a living. They wanted to earn at least as much as they currently earned at their job, but to be their own boss.  If your business does not earn more than the owner is paid to run it, you own a job. If you could hire a manager to run the business and still pay yourself to oversee it and not be part of the productivity, then you have business value beyond owning a job. Too many people get excited about building a business they can sell one day for a multiple of 3-5 times what it earns. This is never the case when it only earns enough to pay the owner.  Before you start, decide on your vision for the long term. There is not a right or wrong answer, but your answer will direct your strategy and decisions about nearly everything during the start-up phase.  For instance, borrowing money against your house to create a job never works. If there is not enough profit beyond your salary, there is not enough cash to pay both the owner and the mortgage. Even if you have the cash, this may not a good investment, but there may be an emotional and psychological value worth every penny. If your job is making you sick, the money very quickly becomes secondary. You will want to spend some time discussing with a qualified advisor, not just of the financial analysis, but the emotional and physical well-being aspect of such big decisions.

Self-expression and autonomy are listed separately because some types of work (and workers) are very creative in nature, while others simply have the personality that does not appreciate a boss.  Experience has shown that many entrepreneurs, who start a business simply to rid themselves of a boss, fail at being their own boss. The reality is that these folks are not entrepreneurs at all, but rather workers who want to rid themselves of their boss and go back to doing their work. If you do the work anyway, then you could do better to go out on your own. The problem is that just because you understand the work, does not mean you understand the business. Whether it is being a hairdresser, retailer, chef or software engineer, your own expertise is not likely to include site selection, lease negotiations, employment law, supplier negotiations, sales, marketing, bookkeeping, etc. Every hour that you spend doing your craft, working in your business, is an hour that you are not working on your business. Outsourcing can help in the skill areas you lack, but is not as easy as it sounds. It is relatively easy to outsource bookkeeping, for instance. It is very difficult to outsource sales and client negotiations in a service industry. It is equally difficult to outsource supplier negotiations and new growth strategies in any industry.

To be successful, the would-be entrepreneur would benefit from some deep soul-searching. Do you have all the skill sets required for your business? Is it reasonable to outsource the areas where you lack expertise? Do you have the money? Can you and should you borrow the money? Are you truly passionate enough about the work to see you through the (all-too-plentiful) tough times? I know you may not like having to explain yourself, but you should be able to explain your specific goal and why you want to own a business, at least to yourself and your family.
Like most decisions, this one will be emotional and that is okay. We tend to use our intellect only to rationalize our emotional decisions. I have lost count of the number of friends and clients who should not have started a business, but acted on the emotional drive to do so. Their stories generally do not end happily ever after. Most of us crave autonomy, mastery, achievement and financial freedom. This requires taking 100% responsibility for our lives, which may or may not require starting our own business. If you truly are an entrepreneurial thinker, you may be able to do well enough working for others that you do not need to take the risk and endless tasks of business ownership. My partners and I will be leading a 3 hour workshop on this subject, Thursday evening July 30 at the Met Coffeehouse in N. Conway. Cost is $20 including food and drink, visit our website to reserve a seat.

Preparing a work-ready youth

as published in Conway Daily Sun

As I conduct training programs for local employees, I find a few common threads. I discuss many of them in this column and often I take aim at employers, because that is most of my audience, and I urge them/you to take full responsibility for creating an environment and culture for success. That said, I see in the classroom, as well as in the local businesses where I shop, that we have a shortage of well-qualified, well-trained ready to work employees.

In spite of state, local and school district efforts, the challenge of finding work-ready employees seems to be on the minds of employers I meet. I am told that coming out of high school, many teens seem to lack any work ethic. I disagree; I think they lack a sense of responsibility, goals and training. The results are the same, so let us stop blaming and consider what we can do about it. If you own or manage a business in the valley, your livelihood may depend on finding or cultivating your own better workforce.

Imagine a workforce in which employees are clear about their goals and are self-motivated to reach them. The goals are broken down into manageable "how much, by when" segments that allow them to get their jobs done with ease because the big picture is clear and concise.

Even if they do not want to have a lifelong career in hospitality, retail or customer service, they should see the value in learning new skills, expanding their knowledge, and saving money to support the pursuit of their personal vision for the future.

Imagine improved customer service because employees are motivated to create a better experience for both themselves and the customer because they understand that the way they respond to events directly impact positive outcomes or a workplace where interpersonal relationships between coworkers improve because they connect with each other authentically and appreciate all each of them brings to the team.

As my regular readers know, I have been involved in Jack Canfield training for a while now. My friend Trish Jacobson introduced me to Jack’s programs. While I have been incorporating many of these principles into my work with individuals and business clients, Trish has been busy working with our youth. This past winter, she applied the Jack Canfield’s Success Principles to a local ski school. By approaching each day with a sense of passion, purpose and clear vision of the outcomes she wanted to create, she was able to develop a cohesive team of dedicated people who took pride in their involvement in the bigger picture. Their sense of personal responsibility, willingness to learn, and their communication skills all greatly improved throughout the season. The staff bonded through their shared mission of impeccable customer service, which showed up in resort surveys directly measuring aspects of customer service and satisfaction. I should mention that about half of her seasonal staff was under the age of 25.

When she is not on a mountain, Trish works with young people through the White Mountain Community Health Center Teen Clinic and Community Outreach programs. She and her team make a significant contribution to Carroll County having one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the entire US. In 2010 she began incorporating some of the same principles into her health curriculum. In 2014, she founded the Pathways to Success for Youth Project. Her vision is to develop a classroom and online curriculum, which includes solid principles of success, elements of passion and purpose, tools to build self-confidence. At the same time, the program will help clear self-limiting behaviors and beliefs and instill a foundation of personal responsibility, goal orientation, taking action and entrepreneurial skills.

Clearly, the Pathways to Success for Youth is onto something - something big. This has the potential to transform education, our workforce, and create endless positive ripple effects. Trish, youth leadership colleague Mikayla Cerney and I will all be on Jack Canfield’s assisting team in Scottsdale AZ in August for a weeklong Breakthrough to Success training program. This program retails for $3500 per person, and Canfield global community has donated eight student scholarships as well as lodging to Trish’s program. I hope as the local community whose youth directly benefit, we can raise the airfare and other costs to invest in eight of our local high school students to experience this truly transformational program first hand. How different my own life would have been if I knew as a teenager, what I learned in this program at in middle age. For more information about helping our youth prepare for a more responsible adulthood, visit www.pathwaystosuccessforyouth.com.

What lies beyond success

By Michael Kline
as published in Conway Daily Sun

Don’t you just love it when someone recommends a book you don’t want to read? I did not need a book called The Success Principles. What could one more book teach me that I hadn't read a thousand times already?! This was the dismissive thought running through my mind as a friend was espousing the wisdom of Jack Canfield.  I have already been outside of my comfort zone, I was already thinking outside the box, I was already living the dream. I reviewed the official checklist of success items in our culture.  My partner and I had already started a business. We had done that 6 times already. We have the house we want, the fancy car, the black lab and a winter home in Florida. I had traveled, tried new things, risked failure, risked success, learned to de-stress, lost weight, embraced nature and enjoy many positive relationships. Leave me alone, my life is perfect!

I had heard it all before.  Responsibility, goals, accountability, blah blah blah. To be honest, I went well beyond blah blah blah, I threw in a yada, yada, yada, which is a considerably more refined denunciation of the particulars being discussed.

You don't know what you don’t know... I should have bought the book. I could have had a quick read and put it on the shelf with a thousand other books, each with its promise to be the one that would change my life. That would have been too easy. Instead, I signed up for a year-long train the trainer program with Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles. I thought did not need the principles, but I did want to expand my training business and learn from the master.

I did not know how to admit I was stuck. I did not know how to set a goal that was (up until then) unrealistic. I did not know how to quiet the critical voices in my head. I did not know that everything I knew for sure was subject to change. If I had read the book, it would have confirmed that I already knew it all and nothing would have changed. The experiential version of the same principles landed me on another planet where there is no gravity, energy is visible and emotions ooze out of your pores. 

How Jack Canfield ruined my life… My life was perfect, until I knew it wasn't. I went into Jack's classroom, ready to become a world-class trainer and grow my seminar business accordingly. Day one - I am in over my head - this room is full of successful entrepreneurs, authors, speakers and gurus of all types, from all over the world. I have done nothing compared to most of these people. What's that? I shouldn't compare myself? I know, but have you seen these people?! What's that? You want me to state my life purpose? Out loud? What's next, you want me to admit my father didn't love me and my mother didn't breast feed me and my biggest fear is that people will find out that I don't really know what I'm doing? Oh. Okay, I admit it. I have baggage. Lots of baggage packed with fears, beliefs I know to be absolute truth, and a couple of jackets called confidence, that I sometimes wear to cover up everything else. Yes, I also packed a swimsuit, just in case I decided to dive in, and running shoes in case I decided to make a break for it. Yes, I'm still speaking in metaphors while wondering if I had adequate writing skills, should it feel necessary to point them out. My ego was a melted puddle on the floor and my self-esteem was rocking in a fetal position in the corner. What a mess Jack Canfield made of my life!

I was happy, healthy, financially secure, capable and confident. Now, my life is about becoming more authentic, vulnerable, loving, open, and pursuing frightening things. I am risking exposure, failure, success, my identity, my self-concept and my future on something as trite as finding my life purpose and living it completely.  I was raised by a man who would say there is no reason to complicate your life with this nonsense. When you have nothing to complain about, just keep your head down and stay out of trouble until you qualify for Social Security and sail off to your funeral. What drives us to yearn for more than simple “Success”, whatever that is? When you have the life everyone else wants, you should be grateful.  What if, beyond being grateful, it still doesn’t feel like enough? What is enough? What could be different to make it better instead of just more? How do we get beyond success, to find real meaning and fulfillment in our lives? Is it simply a matter of redefining the word success to include more meaningful concepts? Why are these concepts so universally sought and yet so universally elusive? This is my new quest. To live my life purpose and help others find and live theirs. It will be hard. It will be scary. I am doing it anyway.

Too Personal for the Workplace

What is it you want to improve at work?  Customer service? Patient care? Quality control? Error rates? Sales? Communications? Employee Engagement? Check out this bit from Inc. Magazine: “Forty-seven percent of employees say that problems in their personal lives sometimes affect their work performance, according to new research by Bensinger, DuPont & Associates. The firm asked 24,000 employees using its employee assistance program how personal issues were affecting their work. More than 16 percent reported that their personal challenges caused absenteeism, and nearly half said it was hard for them to concentrate. Take note: If you think problems in your team's personal lives have nothing to do with you, you're wrong”.

At the far side of every training program there is a goal for work-related improvement. You already possess the technical skills to run the day to day operational aspects of your workplace, so what skills are needed to make the improvements we are talking about?  They are personal by definition. They involve the person and the personality and the unpredictable nature of the person, doing the work. If we do not make the training personal, the complaint would be that we are trying to script/program everyone into robots. At the same time, many people have the notion that personal matters are off-limits in the workplace. It as if there was some sort of law that personal matters are never to be discussed, with every individual deciding where to draw their own line defining what is personal.
Somewhere in the middle of every training program, there is a collage of personal issues that drive the problems and the solutions to our problems. My job is to inspire, motivate and train people in patterns and practices that bring about success, however they define it. If your people have low self-esteem, low self- confidence, their goals are too small, they carry a scarcity mindset, they fear rejection, fear failure, fear success, or do not have a clear vision, are these people going to help build success in your organization?  If you have these qualities, are you going to enjoy success in your career or your life? Imagine having a high level of confidence and the strength to ask for help when needed. Imagine having such an abundance mentality, that credit could be shared, and responsibility could be taken without a need to assign blame for mistakes. Imagine the productivity levels if everyone, including yourself had goals that made sense and correlated with a personal passion to drive results. This is personal. This is uncomfortable.

Indeed, if I do my job correctly, many participants will feel uncomfortable. All the good stuff happens just outside your comfort zone, is a popular phrase on Facebook memes, but that doesn’t make it any easier to be uncomfortable. I often start a workshop with the invitation to get comfortable, being uncomfortable. We can easily get used to being comfortable with a little discomfort and start to experience the richness of personal growth. Mind you, we do not do really deep, super-personal work with groups in a work setting; and we are talking about creating just a little discomfort, balanced with an atmosphere of emotional safety. 

If employees (or employers for that matter), feel unsafe sharing what they consider to be personal matters at work, it could be a reflection of their insecurities or a reflection of the culture in the workplace. If trust with co-workers or the boss is low, we would need to work on that first. This summer, we have been running short public workshops dealing with some very popular topics that dramatically affect how people perform at work. These short workshops are very small groups of people who generally do not know one-another and don’t work together. Somehow, this makes it emotionally safer to get voluntarily more personal. It is almost universally true that people are more comfortable sharing personal insights and challenges with total strangers than they are with coworkers. What does that say about our work relationships? What level of trust is there at work if strangers are safer than co-workers? Strangers are not gunning for your job. Strangers will not fire you, gossip about you, or punish you with lousy schedules as a result of knowing your secret weakness. It is easier to hold in the stress and make ourselves literally, physical ill than it is to risk being vulnerable at work. It pains me to know this. It pains me to know so many workers (and bosses) who are actually living this way. It is unnecessary. It is personal. It is also a work issue. The workplace is making us sick with toxic environments that do not support the emotional needs of the workers. It is my observation that not only do most workplaces not proactively support these needs, many are actively contributing to the problem. We teach what you allow. Shouting at employees, verbally abusing one another, storming around like angry, drunken, violent parents with no coping skills, is acceptable behavior in too many workplaces. On the other end of the spectrum, some employees (and some employers) simply shut down at the first sign of conflict. They may even feel that any question of their work, no matter how kindly presented, is a personal attack. These people simply shut down and walk away from conversations as if their passivity would protect them from the impending storm that does not even exist outside their imagination. We wonder why we must “walk on eggshells” with some people, who are not strong enough to handle any feedback or input at all. How are these situations going to get better without being personal?

We need to be willing to get to know ourselves and care for ourselves first. We then need to know and care for one another. We connect with others through stories, awareness and empathy. We build trust by extending trust, by making and keeping promises, and by being transparent. These things require personal strength and self-confidence. It is time to get uncomfortable and stop hiding behind our “right” to not deal with personal matters. It is time to live healthy, happy, vibrant lives and surround ourselves with other happy, healthy vibrant people.

Employee Engagement - What it is and how to get it

by Michael Kline

Last week, I had the pleasure of conducting a workshop for a group of human resource executives from around New Hampshire. To be as participatory as possible, we used Circle Process to facilitate the program, and opened with a check-in question to identify the meaning of "engagement" in the various organizations represented. We built a center focal point of the words shared by the participants. Mostly the words and accompanying explanations were traditional, such as participation, teamwork, compassion, communication, drive, active, respect, etc. All of these certainly are indicative of engagement. Further discussion went to explore ways to measure employee engagement, possible ways to increase it and challenges to expect in the process.

We discussed Gallup’s defining surveys on employee engagement. Gallup surveys over 6400 employees representing a wide demographic, scoring employee engagement nationwide. Painting with broad brushstrokes, less than 30% of employees are engaged, about 50% are neutral and almost 20% are actually hostile. How do we measure engagement? The survey asks participants to rate a variety of issues ranging from having a best friend at work, to having the tools necessary to do a good job, to getting feedback on their work. The results of the Gallup research are closely tied to a company's financial bottom line, as well as customer satisfaction, work quality and safety issues.

Problems occur when management focuses excessively on measurable short-term results. They do not have time for emotional issues; they simply need employees to show up and produce results. These management types often define engagement as showing up and putting in long hours. Knowing that engagement is a trendy topic, they often plaster the trendy “engagement” word on the same old programs and pretend it is something new. This is not the same as truly embracing the complexities of whole-person leadership in the knowledge-worker age. Unless you are running an assembly line with illegal immigrants, the industrial age is over.  It is time to move beyond these old management models. Un-engaged  management often calls real engagement work "touchy-feely stuff” and they relegate it to the HR department to process it for lower level employees, so long as it doesn't cut into productivity time or budget.

The solution is for management to become a leadership team and understand that engagement is the shortest path to sustainable results. Engagement is measurable and is directly tied to all areas of results for employees, customers, stockholders, vendors, etc. Engagement requires vulnerability, which requires enormous strength and courage. Engagement requires giving employees a voice, but not necessarily a vote. It requires making everyone feel safe, cared-for, heard and respected, even when they do not get their way. In such an environment, it is possible to build consensus and support even while disagreeing. The time-consuming hard work required to invest in engagement produces a culture of high trust, low cost, fast moving, mission-focused, and committed workers doing what they do best, in the best possible way.

The vast majority of the good work employees do is discretionary. They do not actually have to do their best work to keep their job – just compare your top producers with your least productive who still keep their jobs. Cleary, the top producers go above and beyond what is technically required of them. Your goal is to get them to do that more often and to enjoy doing it. The joy they find in giving more is the only reward they need. This only happens if the employer is deserving and when the employee is emotionally connected to the work, the mission and the values of their employer.

Because I wanted to model high-engagement practices, our HR workshop allowed for a high level of audience participation. One participant asked a question that was supported by the group and shifted the focus from what I expected I would be teaching. Teaching what the group wants to learn is far more engaging than teaching what I want to teach. The lesson is that identifying ideas that employees find important, and taking advantage of the energy that lies within those ideas, is how employers can engage the discretionary contribution of employees.

We have 8,800 non-profit organizations in NH. With most employees not engaged at work, huge numbers of employees choose to donate their personal time to non-profit and charity work. This is further evidence that many employees have much more to give than their work requires or even allows them to contribute. People have more to give, but not at work, because work is more emotionally exhausting than it is rewarding. People would rather do work that is technically even harder to do, but that is more emotionally satisfying. This represents the untapped potential of the team you already have on payroll. They are starving for an employer that will allow them to reach their potential, to contribute to something worthwhile, to grow in mastery, autonomy and with purpose. Your opportunity is to unleash that potential for them.

Michael Kline is a Certified RIM Facilitator and trainer for personal and group transformation. You can reach him through his website www.intus.life, or e-mail mike@intus.life.