Engaging employees fosters innovation: Amanda Lang

Daniel MacEachern
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CBC’s senior business correspondent delivers lunchtime speech at first day of NOIA conference

Amanda Lang, senior business correspondent for CBC News, was the keynote speaker at a luncheon Tuesday during Noia’s 2013 Conference at the Delta Hotel in St. John’s. — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

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What looked like a waste of time on one hand is worth billions and changes millions of lives on the other hand, said Lang. “Smart companies know you do need to put a system in place,” she said.

Lang also discussed the ways homes — via frazzled parents who see a toddler’s persistent “why?” as an irritant — and schools — via teachers too focused on teaching and tests to allow free-thinkers to explore — smother creativity as well, but ultimately people have to decide to be more engaged themselves, she said.

“They’ve done global studies on engagement, and the numbers are so similar in every country of the world, that you can literally extrapolate for the globe,” she said. Fourteen per cent of people are “highly engaged,” and 24 per cent are disengaged — Lang calls them “the ones who treat the boss like a substitute teacher.” That leaves 62 per cent phoning it in, she said.

Of management expert Gary Hamel’s six crucial employee traits, the first three — obedience, diligence and intellect — can be bought. But the other three — passion, creativity and initiative — can’t, said Lang. And those are the three that will transform a company, she said.

“You cannot get those three if you are not engaged,” she said. “Employees who are not engaged cannot deliver on those three things.”

It’s not easy to reawaken curiosity and engagement, said Lang, but it is, at heart, a simple act of will.

“We do it because we’re adults,” she said. “We do it because we’re adults who can give permission to the two-year-old that still lives inside of us. But the good news about both engagement and curiosity is they are their own reward. The moment you do either, you will feel good. You will feel the reward of it, and you will want to do more of it.”



Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: CBC, IBM, Delta Hotel

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Paul
    June 20, 2013 - 17:51

    Amanda Lang is very sharp on business and politics so it is a real pleasure to have her speaking at this event. Thank God Kevin O'Leary was not the speaker.

    • Bobby Rae
      May 04, 2014 - 06:26

      What the hell is that supposed to mean? Just kidding I don't even know who that is have a nice day :)

  • saelcove
    June 19, 2013 - 10:00

    It,s the CBC, and how much did it cost the tax payer

  • Townie
    June 19, 2013 - 07:08

    I note there were no comments from audience. When does a business reporter for CBC become an expert to speak on such tropics? They all have such high opinions of their great knowledge on everything!

    • wavy
      June 19, 2013 - 09:39

      Such as what, Townie? That's what you call a defeatist attitude. How's that working out for you? Seems to me all Lang was doing was spinning a few yarns, relaying the facts of their outcome and simply stating what can be learned from them. What's wrong with that? As one who has worked for one of Canada's so-called "Top 25 Employers", yet has had his own IP essentially trashed on numerous occasions by bad bosses, I can tell you her comments struck an immense chord with me.