Leveraging People and Profit: The Hard Work of Soft Management

What’s an “Altrupreneur”®?

Bernie Nagle has been a student of “engagement” in the workplace for nearly 40 years, primarily in manufacturing environments, either as an executive or as a consultant.  He is also co-author of the book, Leveraging People and Profit: The Hard Work of Soft Management, where he coined the term “Altrupreneur”.

Leveraging-People-Profit-Altrupreneur3Nagle describes an “altrupreneur” as one who conducts the affairs of an enterprise with conspicuous regard for the welfare of others, builds communities that produce value for all the organization’s stakeholders. This new breed of leader responds to the needs of the organization and the demands of people coming to the workplace and marketplace.  The manager who can balance the people and profit factors has the best chance of succeeding in tomorrow’s corporation.

MeritShare co-founder Travis Pearl first connected with Bernie on Linkedin and recently conducted this interview.

Tell us about yourself?

I have both experienced and observed the phenomenon of engagement as an employee, manager, senior executive, consultant, author, speaker, business owner, and facilitator.  

I started consulting back in 1995, after 22 years in the Food Industry, when the company I worked for was acquired. At that time I was VP Manufacturing for a $2.0 bil. company, responsible for 7 plants  Instead of moving to Europe with the acquiring company, I took the “package” and went to outplacement. It was at that point I decided to begin writing my book and go out on my own.  After consulting and speaking on my own for a period of time, I was recruited by PriceWaterhouse Consulting and I worked for them until I was recruited by one of their clients to lead a global business process improvement initiative in 13 locations in 9 countries.  

Break it down for us Bernie

 My experience has taught me some simple truths about people in the workplace:

  1. The vast majority of people are fundamentally good; they want to do a good job, improve and grow

  2. Everyone is really good at something

  3. The greatest motivator in the workplace is believing at the end of the day that what you did made a positive difference

  4. People and Profit are not mutually exclusive business choices

Enlightened leaders know these truths intuitively and act accordingly, with integrity and respect.

Why did you start your consulting/training company – what is your mission?

My mission was then, and remains today, “Ubertas per Beneficium” (Abundance through Service).  My goal is to establish a covenant mentality of mutual service in the workplace, through whatever means of evangelization is at my disposal.  My most fervent wish is to get back to being able to support myself financially doing this work full-time as an independent operator or as part of a larger training/consulting firm.

Explain the meaning of “Altrupreneur” – how did you establish that term and what does it mean to you?

The word, Altrupreneur ®, is an improbable union of the words, “Altruistic” and “Entrepreneur”. An Altrupreneur ® is a transformational leader who understands a simple, underlying principle of human nature:

“Engagement, trust, loyalty, and followership, are inspired by the leader’s willingness to value and serve ‘the other’.”

I wanted to create a word that communicated a workable middle-ground meld of the attributes that make for a successful entrepreneur, as well as those of a genuine altruist.  These were the traits I had observed in successful manager/leaders who had the ability to truly engage people in the workplace and elicit discretionary effort, innovation and enthusiasm.  These special leaders had keen business sense and a nose for the bottom line, and at the same time, were people of high integrity, uncommon empathy, and genuine concern for the welfare of others.  In other words, they held others in “high regard”; hence the frequent references to the creation of a “high regard” work environment.

If you had to provide three leadership principles around servant leadership, one sentence each, what would they be?

Leadership Principle #1   Leadership exists only through the voluntary gift of follower-ship

Leadership Principle #2   The gift of followership is given for their reasons, not yours

Leadership Principle #3   You can neither know nor engage their reasons unless by your actions you embody a spirit of humility, respect and service for others


Your website states that Altrupreneurs ‘create “virtually free” new sources of Competitive Advantage in a sustainable world, please explain?  

The lack of engagement in the workforce has been demonstrated repeatedly in study after study.  It is no longer an area of speculation, with some studies estimating as high as 70% to 80% of the workforce actively disengaged.  This group falls into the “quit and stayed” category.  It has been my contention, as I stated emphatically in my book nearly 20 years ago, “the greatest waste of assets in all organizations is the untapped creativity and innovative energy of an engaged workforce.”  Your competitors may outspend you in every asset category, but they cannot buy, nor can they match the creativity and innovation of a team of energized workers.  That enthusiasm and innovative energy cannot be forced it cannot be coerced and it cannot be bought…it must be led.  People do things for THEIR reasons, not yours.  The enlightened, servant leader is uniquely able to connect with the workforce where THEY are, with an interest in THEIR needs, and ignite that enthusiasm and innovative energy on behalf of the organization.  This is the next frontier in sustainable competitive advantage.

What are the most important traits, attributes for Enlightened Leadership?

  • Integrity

  • Humility

  • Regard/Respect for others

  • Competence

  • Optimism

  • Communication

  • Enthusiasm

What companies do you admire the most?

There is a company (literally a few miles from where I live) I recently got to know, and had a chance to interview the president, Stuart Watson.  The company is named Truline, and they make bearing housings for super high-tech applications, like aircraft fuel pumps.  Stuart and the company owner have created a Servant Leadership culture as genuine as any I have ever witnessed in the last two decades.  When I was researching my book,  I had the privilege to speak to some of the giants of the Servant Leadership world, like Max DePree, Herb Kelleher and Art Wainwright, and I will tell you this company is no less impressive. 

bernie

We thank Bernie for his time, insights and advice.

If you would like more information on Bernie, please visit his website  Altrupreneur.com

 

HowTo: Connect Your LinkedIn Profile To Your MeritShare Profile

Do you have an amazing MeritShare public profile page highlighting all of your great peer recognition and want to show it off to your network on LinkedIn?

Good News!

LinkedIn has a ‘publications’ feature on your profile where you can easily add a link to your MeritShare Public Profile, helping you to build your professional brand online by letting your LinkedIn visitors know about your great employee recognition activity on MeritShare!

How To Connect Your LinkedIn Profile to your MeritShare Profile:

Step 1) Sign into LinkedIn
Step 2) Go to “Profile” -> “Edit Profile
Step 3) Locate the “Publications” section

  • Note: if you don’t see “Publications” in the main column, it may be in the area to the right of your profile

Step 4) Click “Add New”
Step 5) Fill out the Publication fields as follows:

  • Title: Employee Recognition Profile for [your name]
  • Publication/Publisher: MeritShare
  • Publication Date: [enter the current date]
  • Publication URL: [your meritshare public URL]
  • Note: Find your public URL under the “Your Profile” section on your My Settings page, it should look something like this: “https://www.meritshare.com/awards/travis-pearl”
  • Description: You can leave blank

Step 6) Click “Save”

You’re done!  Now you’ve helped improve your professional reputation online by connecting your LinkedIn work history to your MeritShare recognition history.

Great job!

Screenshot of LinkedIn “Add Publication” Screen: 

linked_in_publication

 

Three Steps To Professional Branding with MeritShare

In addition to the great team and culture building benefits of peer recognition in the workplace, MeritShare offers something unique to our users – we offer every user on the platform the ability to build their professional brand online just by participating in positive peer recognition at the office.

Professional BrandingEach user on MeritShare has a public profile associated with their own recognition.  When you give peer recognition on MeritShare, the recognition you give shows up on your public profile page.  If you mark the recognition you send as private, only the award name will be visible publicly.  If the recognition you send or receive is public, the full detail of the recognition is visible instantly on your profile – helping you build your professional brand online.

Here are Three Steps to Professional Branding with MeritShare:

Step 1 – Sign up using your company email at www.meritshare.com

MeritShare requires your work email so we can ensure the recognition on the platform is professional and is given by people who have actually worked with you on a professional basis.

Step 2 – Complete Your Profile With Your Full Name and a Photo

Adding your full name and a photo is key to domination the first page of Google results for your name.  A profile enriched with a photo and your full  name shows Google that this is high quality, unique content about YOU and it’ll allow you to push down your personal Google results, replacing them with your professional Google results.

Step 3 – Recognize a Coworker with High Quality Professional Praise

We help hundreds of companies and thousands of users improve their company culture and employee engagement through peer recognition.  By sending some high quality, professional recognition to a coworker – you will be recognized as a leader within your team, even if you don’t have the job title to prove it.  By sending the recognition on MeritShare vs. email, a record of your recognition will show up on your own public profile on MeritShare – helping you boost your professional brand in just minutes.

Thats it! It takes just a few minutes to set up your account and send you first bit of peer recognition on MeritShare.  Your coworkers will love the recognition they receive and you can help build your own professional brand in the process.

Mobile First, Now What?

MeritShare is headquartered in Seattle and we are fortunate to be a part of the local start-up and tech scene.  We both attend, present,  and even help sponsor events like the upcoming one from @JetCityMobile, a community of mobile business professionals in the Seattle area.

Bryan TrusselOn March 20th, @iseff from MobileDevHQ, @PeterHamilton, from HasOffers, @TroyJMorris, from Placed, @KNakao, from MeritShare, and @RedRussak, from Apptentive will be hosting the 3rd @JetCityMobile event with  Glympse’s CEO  and founder Bryan Trussel.

Bryan will discuss how he has expanded his business by partnering with top tier companies like Mercedes, Garmin, and Ford to integrate Glympse functionality into their products and services.  Glympse® is the pioneer of person-to-person location sharing in real-time, for a set amount of time.   The Glympse app has been included in many Top 10 and must-have app lists in both mainstream and technology press, including TechCrunch, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Mashable, The New York Times, and CNET.

Here are some of the questions we have asked Bryan to address:

- When did you decide to scale your mobile business outside of the mobile device?

- What are some product constraints and friction you found while trying to scale outside of the mobile device?

- What portion of your business is currently mobile device focused vs. focused on non-device mobile business? How has that changed over time and how do you see it changing in the future?

- What are some keys that could be applied to most other mobile businesses to grow beyond the device?

- How did you get the partnerships?  How much effort should app developers put into this biz dev

- How long do the deals take and what kind of results are you getting

Please join us as Bryan shares knowledge on what it takes to grow an app into a booming business that lives beyond the device.

You can sign up here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT)

HasOffers
2220 Western Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121

The Best Definition of Employee Engagement:

In this first MeritShare article on employee engagement, we start from the beginning and look at how employee engagement is defined.

Wikipedia references the Scarlett Surveys definition and says: “Employee Engagement is a measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization that profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform is at work”.  This is significantly different than job satisfaction.

However, outside of Wikipedia there are divergent views on how to define employee engagement.  My personal favorite is from Kevin Kruse at Forbes who says:

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.

In order to represent the full spectrum of opinions on how to define employee engagement,  I picked 10 thought-provoking articles.  Let us know your thoughts below and if we missed any you think should be included or if you have your own definition in the comment section below.

1.  Best Definition of Employee Engagement Ever

http://www.knowhr.com5/1/08

JT wrote what I think is the best definition of employee 2engagement ever in the comments on People I’d Like to Hire: When they are there, they are there.

2.  Refining Definitions of Employee Engagement – Sustainability

http://blog.taigacompany.com7/6/12

Our sustainability consulting challenges traditional definitions stakeholder engagement. The Forbes article, What is Employee Engagement breaks many of the traditional views of internal resource effectiveness.

3.  Employee Engagement Definition

http://blog.vovici.com10/26/09

Shuck and Wollard study the evolution of the term “employee engagement” across 140 papers and synthesize a possible consensus definition.

4.  Defining Practical Employee Engagement | RAPIDBI

http://rapidbi.com12/1/11

Defining Practical Employee Engagement The term Employee Engagement has been prolific over the past few years but what does it really mean? How can we use this.

5.  How to define employee engagement in just 6 words

http://blogs.terrapinn.com7/2/12

Employee engagement is more than surveys and assessments – it’s about how team members experience their work environments.

6.  Consultant’s Desk: Terms of Employee Engagement

http://consultantdesk.blogspot.com11/15/12

As a student, I find myself frequently using Google to discover the true definition of these terms, and I have observed many of my classmates using the term “employee engagement” synonymously with employee happiness

7.  All Things Workplace: What, Really, Is Employee Engagement?

http://www.allthingsworkplace.com4/30/09

The definition of Employee Engagement: “a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work”. That makes

8.  50 Shades of Engagement

http://www.thesocialworkplace.com7/21/12

I know how *I* define employee engagement. But I think you already know that too. So, I asked you — the employee, the average joe, the thought leader, and the social strategist, an eclectic mix of professionals..

 

9. Why Your Employee Engagement Survey Isn’t Paying Off | Switch

http://switchandshift.com11/5/12

One of the biggest issues with employee engagement is that there seems to be as many definitions of engagement as there are people on the planet. In the absence of a standardized definition of engagement, it is absolutely

10.  Workplace Presenteeism Redefined – TalentCulture – World of Work

http://www.talentculture.com1/31/11

In terms of a definition for employee engagement there are many, but I have typically used something close to the following: “An intimate emotional connection that an employee feels for the company they work for that propels

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Don’t forget to let us know what you think below and if you have some time, check out MeritShare and see how you can both measure and improve your employee engagement with peer-based recognition.

Employee Appreciation Day

Happy employee appreciation day! Employee appreciation day first showed up in 1995 on calendars. According to SHRM’s “WeKnowNext” blog, Dr. Bob Nelson started the holiday on the first Friday in March, with the first edition of his book “1001 Ways To Reward Employees”. WeKnowNext says:

Dr. Nelson didn’t just want March 1st to be the only day of celebration, he says ” employees should be valued all year round, especially when they have performed well, but the first step is raising awareness about the importance of recognition on the part of every manager Employee Appreciation Day has helped serve that purpose”.

One of the best ways to drive awareness and motivate action is through a great visual based on data. Travis Pearl, co-founder of MeritShare thought it would be fun to provide a data visualization of employee appreciation day, so he created a real-time heat map that shows thanks and recognition given on MeritShare’s network. You can see the real-time heat map for the US here.

MeritShare’s appreciation heat map is a data visualization demonstrating the future of employee recognition: data-driven, real-time, and shared. Peer-recognition has already democratized recognition; we are now taking this one step further by using the metrics from this activity to measure engagement and performance. Just like democracy is powered by votes, engagement should be measured by action. MeritShare has a recognition index that companies can track their performance over time and against averages by industry and peer groups. I believe the future of recognition will become more data-driven with metrics that can lead to decisions and action. Online recognition also allows for instant recognition, the more timely the better. Web-based systems also make sharing of information easier, this along with the increasing transparency giving company recognition the opportunity to leave the corporate firewall and swim in the social media streams and world wide web.. Not all companies will let their recognition hang out, but some will. In fact, many of the companies that use MeritShare want the world to see their peer-based recognition shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in to help them with their recruiting efforts.

With this heat map created by my co-founder of MeritShare in honor of Dr. Nelson and employee appreciation day, I see the future of employee recognition: democratized, data-driven, real-time, and shared.

Let’s turn up the heat on recognition, you can get started on MeritShare instantly and at no charge.