Sustainable Growth Mindset® 7.12.21

How do you keep your employees engaged and playing team ball?

Unemployment remains elevated, according to The Wall Street Journal, even as millions of jobs go unfilled. Part of the reason for this seeming incongruity is that people have a lower tolerance for bad work environments. People are voting with their feet to get away from bad bosses and unfulfilling work. 

I’ll be interested to see the 2021 Gallup study on workplace engagement. The 2019 data is revealing: two-thirds of American employees report being UNengaged at work. Imagine the productivity your team could achieve if you had 67% or more of your people giving a hundred percent.

What interests me the most is what inspires people to cross the line from disengaged to engaged and prevents people from crossing in the other direction. How do you fill the ranks of the engaged and keep them there?

An NFL coach showed me part of the answer this weekend. Each year, Gregg Williams hosts a golf tournament near Kansas City to raise funds for youth activities in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. I sponsored a team for the event. 

I rode in a van from the hotel to the golf course with four of Williams’ former players. Williams coached their high school football team. That was thirty years ago. One was a fourth-string quarterback who had to step into the starting role when others were injured. “He believed in me, and that gave me the confidence to win.” Another one told me that Williams “taught me life lessons that I’ll never forget.”

A third former player broke into tears. He grew up an orphan and was getting into trouble in high school. Coach Williams became the father figure he never had. “We come every year,” he told me, “Coach Williams changed our lives.” He’s now the mayor of his hometown.

Coach Williams brings out the best in his players by customizing roles to people’s natural strengths. “Put people in a position to succeed, and they will amaze you,” Williams said, “put them together in the right combination, and they’ll win.” That philosophy is how he gets people to cross from unengaged to engaged.

Agency keeps them engaged, Blake (Gregg’s son and also an NFL coach) tells me. When people know the bigger picture, how everyone contributes, and the essential role each individual plays, they can make smart decisions during the game. Agency is the ability to make decisions about the nature and outcomes of your work. 

People get engaged when you customize roles to their natural affinities. They stay engaged when they have agency. Assemble them in the right combinations, and you’ll have a winning team. 


People have seen that remote work can work and are creating solo- and expert-businesses in record numbers.

The next FOCUSED program begins the first week of August. This 8-week group program is for principled leaders who want to grow their businesses using the right focus, the right strategy, and the right team. 

Click here to see if the program is a good fit for you. Email me to apply:

This program’s clarity and focus resulted in more high-payoff work that we love and less wasted time and energy. We expect 33% growth to reach $100k in monthly revenues and expand from there.
Matthew Hargrove and Barry Lingelbach, Black-Grey-Gold Consulting 

About Author