Life engagement PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 20 April 2014 00:00

(As we celebrate Easter Sunday with a new beginning, allow me to share an article, Life Engagement, written by a mentor and a friend Francis Kong, a respectable writer author and speaker, on his column Business Matters, The Philippine Star, June 1, 2013.

The article written a year ago is appropriate to what kind of life people seems to live today. It opens the eyes of the reader that there is more to living – live a life. Read on.)

How would you describe the times we’re in today?

I’ve two descriptions you may find useful: we are living in an age of permanent urgency and in the midst of endless distraction.

My corporate clients tell me that the number one challenge they see in their people is engagement. There was a time when competition was in the share of the market, and terms like “wallet share” are the buzzwords. In our current situation, there’s now the battle for “mindshare,” competition has heated up immensely, and the buzzword has become “attention share.”

There are just so many things around us screaming to get our attention. Is this the reason why teachers complain that students today have shorter attention span? I don’t know, but I did a talk for the high school students of a very prestigious school, and all 1,900-plus of them were inside a non-air-conditioned gym, and after I spoke for almost one and a half hours, they still wanted more. But the effort I exerted in giving the talk required every bit of my energy.

Speakers complain and tell me that it’s more challenging these days to hold the attention of participants. Maybe that’s why some event organizers give out “early-bird” prizes, to encourage them to come in early, and then raffle prizes, to encourage them to stay.

It’s so hard to get engagement these days. We have more e-mails to answer, more texts to reply to, more phone calls to return, more customers and clients to please, more tasks to juggle, more meetings to attend, more places to go, and more hours we feel we must work to avoid falling farther behind. Doing Facebook doesn’t help either.

The technologies that make instant communication possible anywhere at any time speed up decision-making, create efficiencies and fuel a truly global marketplace. But too much of a good thing eventually becomes a bad thing. The more technology develops, the more we need to perform. So much is expected from us. And so activities become furious. And these furious activities exact silent costs: less capacity for focused attention, less time for any given task, and less opportunity to think reflectively and long term.

The lack of engagement extracts costs, most of which is invisible. Successful companies understand this, and this is why they punctuate their corporate activities with life enrichment programs designed to provide healthy recreation to break the monotony and routine. I’ve been invited to such lunch and learn sessions where I talked on different subject matters away from work and business. I provided “inspirational speeches” that sometimes take two hours, but no one stands up to leave the room until it’s over.

Human beings can’t operate the way computers do – continuously, at maximum speed, for a long period of time, multi-tasking – and still be expected to be engaged. Even the most sophisticated computers depreciate in effectivity and/or efficiency over time.

Humans are God’s creations. We are designed to grow and develop. We want to increase our capacity over time, but we also need depth of understanding, fun and humor, and social interaction

If you want your people to be engaged, provide them with life-enhancing activities and programs that would help them grow holistically and not just in the one dimension of work.

Every person doesn’t only need to make a living. Each one should also learn to make a life. (On a personal note, companies that give employees, treats, trainings and workshops are more productive. Likewise, working busy parents who give quality time with children outside of work are families that are happier.)

By Dante corteza