August 11, 2017

Get it engaged! Engage Mindset to Execute Results

During the past few weeks, I’ve been focusing on the topic of mindset – how powerful it can be in shifting our behaviours and transforming our results. Still, there’s another point left unspoken but worth reiterating as it can completely bring you the breakthrough achievements in developing your people which will essentially bring about your organisational successes.

Undoubtedly, with the speed of change in today’s business, markets and workforces are constantly evolving and changing. Your people, as the core assets in the organisation, need to be more productive and more efficient than ever to ensure that your company can succeed and thrive in this new business landscape.

Given this situation, there is a lot of work to be done in the way you manage, lead and support your subordinates, teams and peers so that they are equipped with the capabilities for the future to grow your business further. This is because it is critical now for your organisation to meet future demands and most of the time the current leadership development methods cannot produce good enough leaders fast enough.

In practice, from my experiences of having been in the people development field and being the executive coach for many well-known executives for 25 years, to develop someone – the very first step is to engage them. Engage and set up the right mindsets for learning and developing, to be specific. This is the part where you have to create memorable experience and safe atmosphere for people being developed feel comfortable enough to learn and to share their candid passion towards something.

Effective training is not possible without engagement; however, engaging today’s audiences can be difficult. According to Gloria Mark, an informatics professor at the University of California, Irvine, the average people’s attention span lasts only about three minutes before they feel the impulse to set aside whatever they are currently doing and being a new activity.

Still, it is not the audiences’ jobs to be engaged or be persuaded; neither is it the responsibility of HR, rather leaders and line managers need to be the forces of this change. Their mindsets as well as their actions need to be transformed and shifted accordingly before doing so to others.

In details, when you engage your people before developing them, you’ll imprint them with your genuine need of wanting them to further develop themselves, be better prepared and ready to take on new and challenging business tasks ahead.

Only when your people realise that their bosses, their leaders and their companies genuinely want to invest in enhancing their skills so that they can maximise their potential and contribute to the organisational direction and objectives will they eventually develop engagement towards their companies.

Here, leaders must create clear agreements on developmental plan to ensure clarity and focus through active listening the powerful questioning of solution-focused technique that focuses on the future rather than dwelling on the past.

Highlight the benefit of what is in it for them. This is what every participant is thinking at the start of the training or development session. They always will be looking for a tangible benefit you can provide to them with the message you are delivering.

I’d say in order to set the right mindset and engage them from the beginning is crucial as Lyndon Johnson once said that “[i]f they’re with you at the take-off, they’ll be with you in the landing.”. Hence, be concrete on specific details about how your development programme or plan can have a positive effect on productivity or the bottom line. How will it actually save them time, money or possibly make their job or life easier?

Simply put, you need to clearly and equivocally spell out the benefit you are providing for those giving you their time and attention to develop trust and credibility.

Once you get them engaged and shift them into the right mindset of learning and developing, then you can move on to the next step which is empowerment.

Let them choose the areas they want to develop or to let them working on certain projects without constant and thorough monitoring. This is because people tend to work better, have stronger sense of accountability as well as more need of self-development once given the authorisation to do something on their own.

To do this, you need to help them clearly visualise success to drive ownership and believe while building a valued-based perspective to clarify benefits and impact to further drive their engagement.

Only when they have gone through these first two stages that we can move on to the next which is the execution part. The reason is because when people feel engaged to develop and being developed, when they feel empowered by their leaders or bosses to take on something new; then, they would feel the urge on wanting to actually execute that particular project of job.

Last but not least, start with the right mindset, organisations can create a significantly positive shift in building adequate leadership capability that can be applied immediately back at work and gain tangible business outcome.


Ms. Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading Executive, Leadership and Innovation Capability Development Center.

She can be reached by email at or

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First Published in BangkokPost