Do you work in an F-Words World? Are you engaged in a balanced work environment which is FOCUSED, FAST, FLEXIBLE .. and also FRIENDLY, FAIR?!
F-Words matter for persistent positive engagement and results

F-Words matter indeed! For the last 15 years, Gallup have posted results on engagement levels of employees within companies across the globe. With all the talk of digital opportunities and transformation, you might think that these levels have risen over the years. Not at all! In fact, the most recent Gallup update showed global engagement levels at an all time low: Low Employee Engagement Levels

This reminds me of a comment I heard many years ago from a team who had just completed a hugely significant program: “…If we have done so well, why do we all feel so bad?…. ”

Gallup’s definition of an engaged employee runs as follows: “Those working with passion and feeling a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the company forward”. I would go a step further and add this ending to their definition: “….. and this persists over a prolonged period of time”.

I recently left a leadership role in a global corporation to start my own consultancy/advisory company called CyberActive Limited. Even though my home base happened to be within the “hard” confines of a global IT team, I have always had great interest in the “soft skills” world. Leading large global & multicultural teams has allowed me to validate the power of an “F-Words world” to enable the teams that I led to achieve their maximum potential in a balanced manner.

  • Sure, we need HARD stuff in order to succeed. We must be FOCUSED, FLEXIBLE and FAST in our business dealings. This is particularly true in the modern hyped-up digital world that we live in.
  • However, without a mastery of the SOFT stuff we never reach the peak of our own or the broader team’s performance. We must create and nurture a balanced environment that is also FRIENDLY and FAIR. I believe that these 2-Fs are key to allow positive employee engagement to “persist over a prolonged period of time”. 
How we do what we do matters hugely

In the increasing “busyness” of the modern fast-paced world can we excel by just being {FOCUSED, FAST, FLEXIBLE}?…. Or, in parallel, do we also need to nurture an environment which is both {FRIENDLY and FAIR}?

“To avoid undesirable behaviour, avoid the environments where it is most likely to occur” . Dr. Marshall Goldsmith‘s comment in his latest book, Triggers <Dr. Marshall Goldsmith – Triggers>,  encapsulates this “soft” element nicely when viewed through an employee’s eyes.

Environments which are not FRIENDLY and FAIR are best avoided, regardless of the short term business results which might be achieved. The notion that “employees leave managers rather than companies” might be an over-used cliché, but it’s worth repeating with a slight twist….. “Managers can leave employees with an F-Words feeling” or else  “the best employees will leave”.

Ongoing sensing & action makes more sense than periodic surveys

Let’s finish back where we started – with those Gallup results. Ongoing F-Words "sensing" versus surveys is keyWe should not need to wait for quarterly, annual or periodic Gallup-related surveys to determine how people feel. Neither should we wait to take appropriate actions to create a more balanced and “engaging” environment. We need a MEERKAT-like sensing mechanism that observes and watches for telltale signs of engagement on an ongoing basis. Take action based on what we are sensing in the moment, rather than waiting for the next survey. Go create or seek out an F-Words world today and every day and observe the difference!


Now with F-Words still in mind, I think it is time for me to F-Off…… but feel free to contact me at if this article piques your interest.