Engagement is announced....

Engagement is a word used a lot in business, but it's not easy to find a clear definition. It's about interaction and typically placed in a specific context, such as employees or customers (the first engaging with work and the second being engaged by us), but less often on its own. So what can we suggest more generally?

We think some of the difficulty arises from only highlighting a single idea, when in fact there are three parts to real engagement:
- Awareness. Before there can be meaningful interaction with anyone (colleagues, consumers or any other stakeholders in the business) we need to know exactly how they see things too - not just us, but the world in general - and to carefully test any assumptions.
- Focus. This means understanding what's really important in the information we've collected - not only what we see as important, but what our counterparts do as well. The alternative is just accumulating information almost as an end in itself.
- Commitment. Once we're fully focused, we can then act, based on what we've learned. It's the difference between being excited about something and getting involved - and also being clear about priorities before we decide to proceed.

So we think that engagement is about taking all three steps in that sequence. It can work when it's us getting engaged with someone (e.g. a business partner) or if we're aiming to guide others to engage with someone or something else (e.g. a new team or project).

Try and apply it to a particular discussion you're having and see if it works - and let us know!


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