Why It Isn’t Hard to Find Self-Managed Stakeholders

If you believe you can’t…

We regularly highlight companies in every sector with a few dozen to tens of thousands of Stakeholders who all function without managers. How can they find thousands of Stakeholders, when others seem to have trouble finding just a few?

Gallup and some others claim around 20% of the workforce is actively disengaged – you ask them to do X, and they will work hard to do X minus. They also claim around 20-30% of the workforce is actively engaged – they will do X plus, when you only ask for X.

That leaves 50-60% of the workforce that Gallup says aren’t actively engaged or actively disengaged. They call them simply, “not engaged”; bumping along.

So these stats show 70-80% of the workforce is, at best, “not engaged” in their work. Yet our experience is that it is very easy to find actively engaged, fully committed, self-managed Stakeholders who don’t need to be managed, just led. W. L. Gore has 10,000 and Semco has 3,000, both with no managers. Scores of other companies, including our own have a few to tens of thousands, all with nobody managing them. And nobody goofs off. How can that be? Won’t people take advantage of that freedom and turn it into a license to ease off the gas?

No. And here’s why.

LCD Management MAKES People Disengaged
The 50-60% that everyone claims are “not engaged” are followers, and are simply responding to the work world you created for them to live in. If you believe people need to be managed, and don’t have the motivation to take care of their commitments at work, then you will create a workplace structure that is designed to “manage” them into productivity.

LCD Rules vs. HCD Values
This mindset results in a common leadership mistake – LCD Management. Over time (or right away), managers create “lowest common denominator” rules. In response to a few people doing stupid or lazy things, managers create rules to ensure no one can repeat it. The result is a workplace designed around preventing people from being stupid and lazy. People hired into these workplaces work to the lowest common denominator, exactly what you expected of them.

The answer is HCD leadership – decide what would free people up to be as smart, motivated and responsible as possible, and design a workplace to that “highest common denominator”. People hired into that workplace will understand that by being a self-motivated, self-managed adult, they will have ownership over their lives at work, and make more money. It’s motivating to reach up to attain something (HCD Leadership), not to just work a little harder than necessary (LCD Management).

Values, not Rules
An LCD workplace is full of rules to keep people from doing something stupid or lazy. An HCD workplace is nearly void of rules and is instead full of values that guide and drive people to be and do their best when no one else is watching. If your workplace is built around values, you will attract Stakeholders, not employees.

When you build an HCD workplace, you attract the 20-30% of the workforce that wants to be “fully engaged” – natural Stakeholders; AND the 50-60% that will play whatever game is presented, will reach for the stars because that is the game you’re playing.

Attract the 70-80%, not the 20-30%
Build an LCD workplace and you can expect 70-80% to act like employees who need to be managed and told what to do (children). Build an HCD workplace and you’ll find that 70-80% of the workforce will jump right on board. The 20-30% that are fully disengaged will find your workplace uninviting and will either not apply, or will leave.

W. L. Gore found 10,000 Stakeholders and no employees. With HCD Leadership, you should do just as well finding all the Stakeholders you want.