Fired up or burned out?

You’ve all heard the phrase “You should never judge a book by its cover.”

The truth is we all do.  In this particular case, I looked at some of the great management books we’ve featured at CausePlanet over the years. One of them caught my eye because the cover’s so great. But the more intelligent answer you’re looking for is that it contains a terrific amount of sage advice for managers. The book is called Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. December feels like an appropriate time to take a pulse and see if you fall into one of these “fired up” or “burned out” camps. In either case, you’ll find Stallard’s approach worth your time.

Stallard talks about the notion that connected organizations are more productive, more innovative and more profitable. Conversely, a lack of connection will gradually burn employees out. Stallard makes the case for increasing connection at work and shows you how to build a “connection culture”—a culture that increases connection among people—by increasing the elements of a connected culture: vision, value and voice. Paying attention to these so-called “soft” aspects of the work environment will help increase employee engagement and, in the end, will make your organization more successful.

Research by the Gallup Organization shows that fewer than three in ten Americans are engaged in their jobs. Gallup also estimates the annual cost to the American economy from the approximately 22 million American workers who are extremely negative or “actively disengaged” to be $250 to $300 billion every year. Unless people in an organization feel a strong sense of connection to their work and colleagues, they will never reach their potential as individuals, and the organization will never reach its potential.

A “connection culture” is a culture that embraces the beliefs and behaviors that enhance connection among people and meet their basic human psychological needs for respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth and meaning. There are three elements of a connection culture that meet these basic needs: vision, value and voice. Leaders who intentionally foster these three elements will reap the benefits of a connection culture. The connection culture formula can be thought of in the following way:

Vision exists in an organization when everyone is
• motivated by the organization’s mission;
• united by its values; and
• proud of its reputation.

Value exists in an organization when everyone
• understands the basic psychological needs of people;
• appreciates their positive, unique contributions; and
• helps them achieve their potential.

Voice exists when everyone
• seeks the ideas of others;
• shares ideas and opinions honestly; and
• safeguards relational connections.

A good way to remember these elements is to remember this formula: Vision + Value + Voice = Connection. When all three elements are in place, it’s a win-win for individuals and organizations.

See also:

Michael Lee Stallard’s website,
Stallard’s new eBook, The Connection Culture
Fired Up or Burned Out Page to Practice™ summary

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