“Did I do my best?”

With this post, we are going back to the great Marshall Goldsmith one more time. We will highlight a number of questions that he would let anyone ask themselves to drive and foster engagement at work.

His interesting and different premise here is that he purely relies on what the employee can do, rather than relying on their company. Therefore, employee engagement is mostly a result of something that goes on within someone, not whatever comes from the outside. Interested?

Gallup has frequently shared in their ‘State of the Global Workplace’ report that employee engagement (i.e. the level to which employees actively identify with their company’s goals) is at an all-time low: globally at 13%, and as low as 9% in Singapore. While in most cases, employee engagement initiatives seem to be automatically driven as a top-down initiative that must be lead by leaders and top management, Goldsmith takes the opposite approach. He is instead stipulating that the most important question is “what employees can do to engage themselves”, rather than relying on whatever their company gives to engage them.

This post is inspired by a short video of him that I ran into here on ‘Strategy&Business’. So what questions does he suggest?

  1. Did I do my best to set clear goals? (rather than whether the company set clear goals)
  2. Did I do my best to make progress towards goal achievement? (rather than asking whether the company helped me achieve my goals)
  3. Did I do my best to be happy? (rather than: did somebody make ME happy?)
  4. Did I do my best to find meaning? (rather than relying on someone else making my work meaningful)
  5. Did I do my best to build positive relationships? (better than just asking whether you have a best friend at work)
  6. Did I do my best to be fully engaged?

I think the message here is quite clear. I his own words, asking yourself about whether you gave all you got on something (did I do my best) is simply something that is in the control of everybody. It, therefore, has the potential to explain why there are still differences in employee engagement within companies while everyone is subjected to the same employee engagement programmes.

The results he said were realized? After asking themselves these questions for 2 weeks in a row, 37% of people got better on all 6 elements, over 60% got better at 4 out of 6, 89% said they got better at something. These are resounding results and should let us all think how we could deploy such a method in our own lives.

Think about it!




1) Marshall Goldsmith on Strategy&Business

2) Picture from Unsplash