The X-model of engagement

In our DiA meetings and in lots of other work we do, we are often exploring the challenge of employee engagement. We’ve shared blogs on this before (click here to see previous posts), and are strong supporters of the work of Marshall Goldsmith who encourages all employees to ask themselves 6 questions to help drive their own engagement at work. Yet, we see that employee engagement has two sides – the role of the individual in their own engagement and the organisation focusing on strategies that help make their organisation ‘irresistible’!

We recently came across this excellent video by Blessing White sharing their view on this topic – called the X-model of engagement. You can view it by clicking here.

The Engagement equation

This video explains the intersection of organisational and individual goals in the engagement equation.

As a summary it says:

  • achievement of organisational goals is heavily dependant on individuals within that organisation performing at the highest levels – where they are providing a ‘maximum contribution’
  • but individuals are ‘on their own path to success’ – and this path is influenced by their own unique values, interests, career aspirations and work life needs

Each entity is wanting something different. ‘Organisations are wanting maximum contribution and individuals are wanting maximum satisfaction’. When these intersect, there is likely to be ‘full engagement’ : a ‘sustainable level of high performance that benefits both parties’.

What do we see in reality?

What we see in reality is a wide distribution in terms of satisfaction and contribution. And it begs the question – Where should you focus your attention when you are a manager of others?

  • Do you focus on those that seem happy in their roles but are not contributing quite enough? (cruising?)
  • Do you focus on those that are contributing at high levels but might not be personally satisfied? (might burn out? quit and leave…or quit and stay)
  • Do you focus on those that have low contribution levels – and who don’t seem satisfied in their roles? (the disengaged?)
  • Do you focus on those that are contributing well and seem to be mostly engaged – but are not necessarily fully engaged and providing a maximum contribution all the time (the partly engaged – who are often your majority?)
  • Do you leave the fully engaged alone – letting them get on with it?


This thinking debunks the common phrase –  there is no I in TEAM!

Each manager needs to be pay attention to all of them! To each individual. But perhaps not in equal measure or with same level of priority?

The video outlines the role all three parties play in the engagement equation :

  • Individuals – need to ACT; Assess what they want, Communicate this and clarify alignment to organisation, and Take action to fulfil their own needs
  • Managers – need to CARE; Coach for performance and development, Align interest/talent/daily priorities to the team / organisation goals, Recognise and appreciate effort, and Engage both themselves and each staff member by talking one-on-one
  • Executives / Organisations – need to provide a CASE for engagement; Foster a sense of Community, be Authentic, help people see the Significance of their work and create a sense of Excitement – that this is a place to be and move things forward


To see further information on this, and other videos by Blessing White, click here.