Book Review: Energized Enterprise-Dr. Marta Wilson

If we can create a federal workplace that is strong, empowered, connected and fulfilled, this will inevitably have extra ordinary ramifications for the world in general, since what happens in our federal workplace does not stay here but reverberates around the world though thousands of interactions we have on the world stageDr. Marta Wilson

With so many books written on the topic of corporate culture and leadership, was it really necessary for Dr. Marta Wilson to write her book?  I would argue that many great books have already been written on the topic of company culture and leadership.   What is unique about Dr. Wilson's book is the specific focus on the workers and contractors of the federal government.  I believe this was written at a time when we need it most.

Why do we need this book?  In case you have been living under a stone, you might want to check out the federal deficits and debt.   Presidential candidate Ben Carson talks about ending deficit spending like it will be as simple as freezing hiring and cutting 3% in all departments.  Cuts in federal government spending while necessary, could be disastrous without some of the great leadership described in Energized Enterprise.  Not only are disengaged employees nonproductive they can undermine the work their co-workers accomplish.

With more than 2,721,000 federal workers and unknown numbers of federal contractors Marta's wisdom could provide great value to our country.  Federal expenditures amount to 35% of GDP.  With these eye opening statistics, it important topay attention to the additional data provide by Dr. Wilson from The 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (done by OPM) as well as examples at DHS and IRS that shows that tight budgets and sequestration have had negative effects on productivity, as well as the ability to recruit and retain top talent.  Leading in this environment, is challenging as evidenced by the implementation of the Civil Service Act of 1883.  in fact a USA today article cited that makes it is more likely that federal workers will die of natural causes than get fired.

There is hope.  This book gives government leaders great ideas, as well as questions for reflection, discussin and action (at the end of every chapter).  Dr. Wilson believes that more federal workers are willing to change but they need leadership to help them navigate the fear of the personal consequences of change.    She believes great leadership can be more efficient.  In fact efficiency is about hundreds of minor choices and how you behave day to day.  Dr. Wilson provides great advice on topics such as recruiting , interviewing, onboarding, casting vision, constant feedback, fun, growth and challenging your team to perform.

Dr. Wilson provides "walking around questions" for senior management such as:

  1. How satisfied are you with your job.  Can you tell me what might increase you level of satisfaction?
  2. How clearly on your job responsibilities defined.  Would you like more communications on expectations and clarifications of your responsibilities?
  3. How much feedback to your receive?  Would you like additional feedback or encouragement?  Can you tell me more?
  4. Does working in a mobile workforce enable your creativity or have a beneficial impact on your life?
  5. How does working for this organization compare to others you may haveworked?
  6. What is the single most important change you with should be made to help your flourish as a professional here?
  7. Is there any clarity you would like around our vision, mission, values or strategic goals?
  8. Is there anything else you would like to share regarding your work experience?

Dr.. Wilson also provides great advice on how to respond to this input from your team.

  1. Acknowledge it.
  2. Thank them.
  3. Implement and ideas and let them know you are implementing it.
  4. Or let them know why you are not implementing their idea.

Dr. Wilson lists four attributes of effective leadership.

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Heart
  3. Sensitively
  4. Persuasiveness

According to Dr. Wilson, great leaders will know how the enterprise is doing with regards to:

  1. Hiring superstars who are a great fit
  2. Onboarding people so they feel welcome (including preparing for the honeymoon effect)
  3. Helping people build a strong commitment to the mission
  4. Improving relationships
  5. Boosting motivations.
  6. Aligning the enterprise
  7. Exercising fairness and justice
  8. Attending to the health happiness and wellbeing of the team.