The Work Problem: Lack of Engagement
Two-thirds of the United States workforce is “bored, detached or jaded, and ready to sabotage plans, projects, and other people,” (Mckee, 2017). Similarly, there is a wealth of research that demonstrates the relationship between lack of engagement and occupational health issues (e.g., stress and burnout). The perils of disengagement at work lead Bakker and colleagues to introduce the concept of work engagement, i.e., a positive motivational state of work-related well-being. Unlike disengaged employees, those who are engaged are enthusiastic, motivated, and inspired to perform at work.
The CODE Intervention is one such to tool to reinvigorate engagement and activate renewed commitment in the American workforce.
The Solution: The Code Method and Power of “I Will”
The budget for training and development in the United States is estimated around 161.7 billion dollars (Training Industry, 2018); however, companies often report they do not think they are getting a good return on investment (ROI). This is attributed to employees usually reverting back to their old ways after a short period of time, thus failing to improve organizational performance. One solution is in Shaun Tomson’s CODE Intervention. It is a training and development platform that uses the principles of positive psychology, technology, and social media to re-energize, re-connect, and re-commit employees to their fundamental purpose, and improves well-being and performance. The CODE is a planned organizational change process that emotionally engages employees through a keynote and connects and commits them to a positive and purposeful path through a participatory workshop.
CODE Keynote // Ethos: Character
The CODE Intervention begins with a 1.5-hour keynote on ETHOS (i.e., character) grounded in perspectives on character strengths, i.e., how Shaun used positive psychology to be successful in professional athletics and business. The experiential storytelling method is intended to engage employees and inspire them to activate their own individual strengths. The research on character strengths undergirding the keynote demonstrates that the activation of employee strengths can improve organizational performance (Harzer & Ruch, 2012, 2013; Hodges & Asplung, 2009). For example, the CODE keynote highlights perspectives from Shaun’s life on wisdom, perseverance, bravery, and love, among many more. The ETHOS driven keynote assumes each employee has individual strengths that he/she cherishes, and it’s the application of these strengths that produce organizational outcomes.
The final part of the Keynote bridges the gap between Shaun’s life (i.e., experiences/perspectives) and those of the business organizations values. It serves as a call to action for employees to not only discover their calling at work, but also align their values with the organization. Elangovan et al. (2010) contends that employees with a calling perceive their work to be their purpose rather than just a means for financial reward. In addition, Harzer and Ruch (2016) found the activation of strengths at work actually increases employee calling. This has implications for organizational outcomes and points toward the importance of the CODE’s impact on developing employee strengths. In summary, the keynote serves as a tool to activate employee strengths and get them to begin the process of realizing which of their strengths they can best leverage in the workplace.
CODE Workshop // Telos: Purpose
While research demonstrates the efficacy of strengths use on organizational outcomes, the organizational environment is also critical for facilitating positive psychological principles at work (Asplund & Blacksmith, 2012; King, 2001). As such, the CODE workshop implements a best possible self-exercise to target individual employees and their work teams.
The (1.5 hour) workshop and begins by having Shaun instruct employees to write down their own 12-line CODE. More specifically, each employee is given 30 minutes to write down 12 “I will” statements that serve as mantras in the organizational context. After all employees have finished their personal CODE’s, they are read aloud to the entire group. In addition, employees are instructed to pick their most meaningful “I will” statement that Shaun aggregates into one summary list. Upon completion, Shaun reads all of the statement aloud and notes any pertinent themes that cut across the employees in the exercise. Shaun completes the exercise by informing employees that the CODE is a tool to help them with their organizational lives. It serves to keep them accountable to their best selves at work and beyond. The overall purpose of the intervention is to make employees goal oriented, engaged, and inspired to improve their work performance.
- Motivates individuals to improve their performance
- Emotionally engages individuals with each other
- Activates positive change
- Helps to identify personal goals to achieve success
- Useful in uniting the team
- Makes individuals feel accountable to reach their stated goals
- Helps individuals realize they share common values
- Creates a sense of shared purpose
Claremont Graduate University Survey Results
TEAM MEMBER EXEMPLAR QUOTES – CLAREMONT GRADUATE UNIVERSITY SURVEY
“It blew my mind”
“I was choked up and I still remember this one person’s “I will” to this day”
“It was freaking incredible”
“I was inspired”
“It is like the north star”
“I lost 50 pounds after the Code Workshop and Keynote”
“I was really inspired, buzzed all day!”
“He hits the nail on the head due to authenticity”
“The Code can make you pull yourself out of the mud”
“It’s like a map”
“I developed a code with my 8-year-old son, we have his code on the refrigerator. It is working!”