The Nuances of Deep Involvement

The Nuances of Deep Involvement

Perfect Labor Day gift. I spent a few days last week on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with the Leadership Team of a global manufacturing company that makes microwave filters and switches for microwave signal routing.

I get energized by the focus at a great manufacturing firm. The fervor of folks who have tasted the power of continuous improvement.

The fervor was alive with my friends last week.

My favorite moment: 18 people hunkering down to craft a statement that captures the rewards of a continuous improvement workplace. Settling on an adjective that best defines the desired work experience.

A FUN place to work. An ENJOYABLE place. A REWARDING one. A SATISFYING one.

Their final 4 choices. I know which one I’m rooting for.

The group picked FUN.


It became clear to me, once again. The second we name it we can create it. Let’s be mindful of what we name.

I am glad my microwave friends didn’t pick Engaged. Glad it didn’t even make their list. No one runs around day in, day out, thinking jeez I want to be in a more engaged workplace. Engaged is the jargon of HR leaders and Organizational Consultants who are busy running engagement surveys to prove that something is amiss. Yes, something is amiss, and they are right, of course. They just got the naming wrong. Engaged is a band-aid adjective that doesn’t richly resonate with anyone and means even less. It connotes surface behavior and entirely misses our deepest human desires.

My friends on the Eastern Shore got it right. They know that continuous improvement is a practice that has the power to deliver all 4 of their final adjectives. And they made a choice.

Now to you and me. The moment we name it we can create it. Every moment, every day.

How do you want your conversations to unfold?


It depends, you say.

Depends on what? I ask.

The nature of the conversation, you say. Who I am talking to. Some people are more enjoyable to speak with than others. Some are plain tough. And some conversations are just hard.

Agreed. I believe in context. But our intent overrides context, every time. A “tough” conversation can be satisfying. A “challenging” conversation can be rewarding. A “difficult” person will melt.

Name it. Name it boldly.

My friends on the Eastern Shore did. Sure, not every daily task will be fun. Not every conversation will be enjoyable. But they got the fun and continuous improvement connection right. By naming it, they have already begun to create a way more fun place of work than if they had named it otherwise.


Name it. Name it boldly. It’s how we change a workplace, one conversation at a time.

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Achim Nowak is an author, speaker, C-Suite coach, international authority on personal presence. His book "The Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating a Mindful Life in a Distracted World" (New Page Books) has just been published. His previous books have become prized resources for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 executives around the globe. Achim and his work have been featured on 60 Minutes, Fox News, NPR, in The New York Times and The Miami Herald.