Agility 11
Raise Your Business Agility to a New Level


Leadership, Lean Thinking, Agility

RAMP Up Your Employee Engagement

Four times higher growth in earnings per share (EPS) and 21% higher profitability. These are just two impacts of having a highly engaged workforce, according to Gallup’s Employee Engagement Survey. Companies in the top quartile of engagement also had higher productivity, better retention, and fewer accidents than bottom-quartile companies. [1]

Research shows that four factors drive engagement in the workplace: Relationships, Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose (RAMP). [2,3,4]

Photo by Flickr user  UpNorthMemories  via  Creative Commons  license

Photo by Flickr user UpNorthMemories via Creative Commons license

Relationships: a personal connection with colleagues

The Gallup engagement survey asks this question: “Do you have a best friend at work?”. Building bonds between people and within teams shouldn’t be left to accident. Effective leaders start by building strong relationships with their people, and role-modeling the behaviors required to maintain those relationships.

Autonomy: having significant input on how your own work gets done

Agile principles promote self-organizing teams. The team is responsible for finding the best solution to a problem. Leaders must clarify goals (intent) and cultivate competency to truly empower teams so that the leader can responsibly delegate more ownership to teams and individuals.

Mastery: Making progress toward greater skills and abilities

Leaders can build a culture of experimentation; one that rewards learning. A learning culture is forgiving of mistakes. Leaders can establish guard rails for safe-to-fail experiments. They celebrate learning rather than punishing failures. Leaders coach and mentor their people to develop their skills and advance their careers.

Purpose: a belief in the goal of my work and the mission of the organization

The Leadership Agility model describes the stages of leadership growth from expert-level leadership, to Achiever, and finally to Catalyst leadership. Catalyst leaders are visionary. They create intrinsic motivation in other by reinforcing the purpose and mission of the organization, its products, and the teams that deliver those products or services.

A few questions to ask yourself as a leader:

  1. What percentage of my time as a leader am I explicitly investing in cultivating employee engagement?

  2. Why is that important to me and my company?

  3. How much time and effort is appropriate?

  4. Which one of the RAMP factors could have the biggest impact if I improved it?

  5. What specific action could I take in the next two weeks to have an impact in that area?



  2. Dan Pink: Drive.

  3. Matthew Lieberman. Social: Why Our Brains are Wired To Connect

  4. McGregor & Doshi. Primed To Perform