Feedback is the key to Engagement

We live and work in an age where feedback is necessary to secure employee engagement.  Study after study demonstrate up to 68% of the American workforce is disengaged.  Approximately 50% are unengaged and an incredible 17% are actively disengaged.[1]   Yikes.

Disengagement means lower levels of productivity, less revenue and higher incidents of weaker culture.  As noted by Gallup: Organizations with higher rates of “…engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability.”[2]

Disengagement is an illness that spreads rapidly when tolerated or left unaddressed. 

Why?  Several reasons:

1.   People that “pick up the slack” and generate the work product compensating for the lack of production by the disengaged feel underappreciated.  These employees are, essentially, punished for others being disengaged.  Employees who make up for the productivity of their disengaged colleagues eventually get frustrated and, not altogether unsurprisingly, tend to leave their employer.  Losing disengaged people is one thing, losing hard-working, go-getters is unacceptable for any organization;

2.   Disengaged employees are permitted to continue such disengagement – thus, repeating a vicious cycle where such behavior is encouraged if not altogether promoted.  Obviously, no organization wants to see this happen and yet it does. (As discussed above, such behavior requires the engaged workforce to over-work and drives up rates of attrition); and

3.   Management and ownership experience increasing levels of frustration, anxiety and concern over lower productivity, less revenue and higher levels of attrition.  81% of companies report turnover is a “costly problem” and 63% say retaining employees is actually more difficult than hiring people.[3]

How can ownership stem the tide?  How does an organization encourage and develop engagement?

One, simple word.

Feedback.  Gather feedback.  Analyze feedback.  Appreciate feedback.  Employ feedback to make more effective and objective decisions.

Feedback falls into three general categories – positive, negative and somewhere in between (often referred to as “constructive criticism”).  Management and ownership might not like all the feedback (especially the negative) received, but the process of gathering, analyzing and utilizing feedback helps strengthen culture within the workplace and improve rates of engagement.

A word of caution – if an organization is going through the valuable exercise of gathering meaningful feedback from their people, the organization must use it.  It is also important to gather enough feedback to make it statistically relevant (no need to act immediately after first gathering feedback).  When trends are identified in a given employee’s conduct and interaction with, or net impact on, others on a team or organization-wide level, action must be taken by management.

For an organization to preach the importance of feedback, stress participation in gathering feedback and then do nothing with the data collected can be more damaging than not caring about feedback at all.

Gathering and using feedback effectively can change the face of any organization.  Ripple Analytics Inc. is a cloud-based platform that empowers companies to gather and analyze feedback from their people.  Check us out at  Give us a try!


Why we are qualified to write the blog:   Noah L. Pusey – [email protected] – is the President & CEO of Ripple Analytics Inc.   For over twenty (20) years, Noah has been building teams and developing employees at various companies.  As a result, he has participated in corporate America’s flawed annual review process and has set out to fix it.  He knows what works, what doesn’t and why.  See more about Ripple at


Part 3 – How much Space is enough?

girls with masks beside each other

How much Space is enough?

It was hot and humid day in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The mini-bus was loaded and we were ready to drive to our destination in Ijenda. 

To our surprise the bus stopped to pick up some more passengers even before we left the city. The air in the bus got warmer as we crowded together.

We continued our trip upcountry.

Over the next few hours the bus made multiple stops. More people got on, but nobody stepped off.

We were amazed how many passengers managed to squeeze into that bus before we arrived at our destination. The bus was way beyond fully loaded. The closeness cramped our North American sense of personal space.

Growing up, we all learn about appropriate physical space.

COVID-19 has expanded our personal space even more.  Two meters is the new normal. This brings new challenges.

With Social Distancing policies in public areas we have lost what is called Personal Distance Space.  Generally, the North American sense of space suggests the following rules apply:

    Intimate Distance (touching to 45cm)

    Personal Distance (45cm to 1.2m)

    Social Distance (1.2m to 3.6m)

    Public Distance (3.7m to 4.5m)

Previously we would have conversations in public within the Personal Distance Space.There are some key reasons this is such a vital space. Here we can better hear the other person, pick up expressions and notice their eye movements in more detail. The use of handshaking was a way of appropriately entering into this Personal Distance Space in order to initiate a more personal connection.

Here are two key concerns to be aware of in the present reality:

Without the handshake we need to establish a connection without entering the Personal Distance Space.

Increased distance and masks are making it difficult to pick up the nuances of what the other person is communicating. This means we will need to ask more questions.

Listening has become more important with the loss of the visual cues.

Since public speakers are even further removed from their audiences they need to adjust in a number of ways. It may be necessary to adapt some of these techniques in order to communicate across the gap. For example:

            – our gestures may need to be more pronounced

            – be aware that our words don’t have the supporting facial expressions

            – speak more clearly, watch our tone and increase volume

            – appropriate eye contact is going to be essential

            – be more patient with each other, as we are learning to communicate in a new way

By the way, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The atmosphere on the bus was positive and people were enjoying themselves.

This is a reminder that it is possible to adjust to new spaces and still communicate effectively if we have the right attitude and skills.

Is your team being challenged by social distancing?

If you want to improve your communication and presentation skills, let’s talk.

We offer great team building workshops to improve your communication.

Eduardo Heinrichs

[email protected]





The Communication Advantage Part 2

2 men talking

Have you ever heard the words, “Watch your tone!”?

Are you sending the right message?

Are people hearing what you mean to say or are they only hearing how you say it?

In our last blog we looked at how our facial expressions communicate. (

In this article we will look at Paralinguistics and how they can help or hinder our communication.


Pitch: Does your voice tend to go up if you are nervous or angry? You can develop the ability to control the pitch of your voice to maximize effective communication.

Each of us are able to speak within a vocal range, and vary the pitch. This ranges from the higher, nasal tones to the richer resonant tones that come from within the chest. Many studies indicate that speaking from the lower range instills greater confidence in the listener.

Pace: Are you speaking at a reasonable rate or does it sound rushed? Are you slowing down or
pausing at appropriate points in your presentation? Reserving the increased pace to bring additional
energy and suggest passion will enhance your speech.

Are you intentionally adding moments of silence? These pauses can be as powerful as the
words spoken. Think of the rests between the notes in a piece of music.

Volume: What do we do when someone whispers? We instinctively lean in to hear what is being
said. A whisper can be amazingly powerful since it connotes a secret or special knowledge.
How can you use this as a way to draw in the audience?

Timbre: Timbre refers to the quality of the sound as it is perceived by the listener. It is often
used to describe musical instruments and is distinct from pitch or volume. As an example, compare
Kermit the Frog’s voice to the voice of Morgan Freeman.

Are you using ‘upspeak’ and is it undermining your communication? Raising the voice at the end
of a sentence can transform a statement into a question.

The Power of Prosody! This is the application of all these elements into engaging and effective
communication. Dreary dull, unvaried or monotonous delivery of what could be great content is
going to effectively undermine the entire presentation. A varied, energetic tone can serve to effectively
help communicate ideas.

Remember when you were told to “Watch your tone!”? Those are words worth paying attention to.
What is the next right step in your ascent toward your communication advantage?

We are here to help you succeed.

NB: For a more in-depth consideration of this topic check out:


What is Virtual “Just-in-Time Learning”?

Virtual “Just-in-Time Learning “Training

Virtual Just-in-Time Learning is a new, timely training approach – especially during these challenging COVID-19 times.

Whether an employee is working on the road, at home, or at the office, each municipal employee can access “Just-in-Time” Learning training from a computer or their smart phone whenever they feel compelled to acquire the training.

This training approach provides municipal employees on-demand, flexible, agile training that enables them to acquire need-related training exactly when they need that training’s information.

It is a virtual training approach which closely aligns with today’s knowledge-driven, speed-oriented world where people want “just in time” information quickly.

Since there is no one right time to provide a group of municipal employees training on a topic, the resourcefulness of virtual Just-in-Time Learning will be appreciated by municipal employees since it provide them in-the-moment, relevant, real-time training exactly when they need that training.

Also, having experienced a need for that real-time training, they will likely retain the training longer.

The topics of this training approach are delivered in modules. Not only can employees initially learn the module’s training, they can also revisit a module, or a section of a module, time and time again, for tips, solutions, and training reinforcement.

Virtual Just-in-Time Learning also enhances a municipal employee’s productivity by providing them real-time performance support when they are experiencing a situation calling for that municipal support.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please check out my profile and/or contact me:

Bill Dennis, 

CEO and President,                                                                                                                      

Cultural & Generational Training                                                                                  






COVID and Communication Challenges

two girls talking - facial expressions

Watch what you don’t say.


I have heard people talk about ‘finding their voice.” But, what do you do if you can’t use words?


It was 2 a.m. and we had just arrived at the Bangkok, Thailand airport. We needed to find a cab to our hotel. We discovered how dependent we were on words to communicate. At the same time, we realized the power of gestures and facial expressions. While words are an important part of communication, there is great value in understanding how rich our communication systems are.


We generally think of communication in two categories -verbal and nonverbal. We are very aware of verbal communication, but did you know that there are at least nine distinct categories of nonverbal communication? We try to choose our words carefully, but might be unaware of our nonverbal signals, and yet, these speak loudly to our listeners.


Each one plays a major role in your presentations, speeches, and general communication. This is an important part of Emotional Wisdom and becomes a powerful part of communication.


In a series of upcoming posts, we will look at these categories in more detail. Here is the first

category and some comments on how this might help or hinder your communication:


Facial Expressions

This is probably the most easily recognized of the nonverbal communication categories. Within this category are over twenty distinct expressions. It is also helpful to know that many facial expressions are universal in nature. This makes it possible to understand across linguistic boundaries. Facial expressions are responsible for a large part of nonverbal communication. The look on a person’s face is often the first thing we see, even before we hear what they have to say.


The challenge with wearing masks is that we lose about 50% of what is being communicated through facial expressions. Due to the design of the human eye, we can easily identify precisely where people are looking.


Watch an audience as you are being introduced. The eyes of the audience will shift. They are watching you before you arrive at the podium. Your facial expressions, body language, and general posture are already communicating to the audience before you speak a word.


Watch what you don’t say.


By the way, we did arrive at our hotel…eventually.


If you are interested in finding out more about how to increase your effectiveness as a communicator,

presenter or public speaker let us know.  We are here to help you succeed.


Learn more about Enrich Services


Covid 19 – Federal Funding for Municipal Solutions

The Covid 19 pandemic is creating a massive strain on resources in communities across Canada. Human service solutions in education, justice, social and health were never designed to take on this much for so long. Canadian municipalities are making adjustments to accommodate the surge in demand and the ever changing needs of their community. 


Some of our communities are now in the red zone creating the need for further restrictions. Federal, provincial and municipal governments are responding with additional funding and co-operation to help reduce the damage and improve the outcomes in less time. 


On August 13 2020, The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities announced the creation of the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative with up to $31 million ($19M 2020-21 & $12M 2021-22) in federal funding to support community-led solutions that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.The demands placed on families and individuals by COVID-19 have exposed a real need for low-cost, locally-driven ideas to help communities adapt and thrive. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help breathe life into these small projects that can have a big impact as local governments, Indigenous communities and their non-profit partners rethink public spaces and how they deliver services to people.”


While Infrastructure Canada (INFC) is providing the funding, there is another organization yet to be announced that will organize, evaluate and distribute funding based on your proposal. This announcement will be made shortly. Your municipality will be able to submit a Covid 19 related infrastructure proposal that is between $5,000-$250,000. Three focus areas are: digital solutions, improved mobility solutions and safe and vibrant public spaces. 


A community project that develops infrastructure -related solutions to address changing community needs through the use of data and connected technologies starts with the ability to understand who is affected, what is being delivered and what needs to be done with priority. Measuring outcomes and sharing this information in a secure way becomes the source of truth for social service, health, justice and education partners that are focused on helping those most affected by Covid 19. Any municipality working to solve these complex and rapidly evolving stress points without a case management solution will have overlapping solutions that cost more than required and fail to see the gaps, reducing the outcomes. When you have time and budget, municipalities will continue to manage human services in a way that offers a path with least resistance. 


Covid 19 has exhausted both time and budget. Human services in your community need to work together efficiently. Working to save lives today and preparing for the future depends on it. Athena Software is a Canadian company that has experience working with every level of government in 15 countries around the world helping them find a way to do more with less and get better outcomes. Let me know if you would like to see how this can work for your community. 

Learn more: Athena Software


Five Driving Needs (Part 3): Creating an Energized State of Being

Woman running

Powerfully productive days are the result of energized brains

If a person’s natural M.O. is to contribute and make a difference but they are blocked from doing so, it produces an unmet need. This creates internal tension – the gap between their desired state and their current reality. There’s good news about tension – it has energy right inside it – and that energy can be released. When a driving need is fulfilled, the tension is resolved – and energy is released, producing a state of being. A state of being is more than just a feeling—it is a pervasive emotional condition that includes but transcends the emotion – affecting one’s entire being.

An emotion is like the temperature in your office, a state of being is like the weather in your city. For example:

Feeling accepted by a coworker in a meeting is good, but it can be a fleeting emotion.

Working in a team where you experience a solid, stable sense of belonging is a state of being.

Being given the chance to work on a new project is good, but it can be a fleeting feeling. Experiencing undisrupted freedom to make decisions and take action is a state of being.

An employee – let’s call her Jasmine, who experiences belonging within her team as a state of being. It’s the state of being – not just a passing nod of acceptance that releases a flow of oxytocin – freeing up mental bandwidth by bathing Jasmine’s brain with feelings of bonding, rapport and trust. Oxytocin is such potent juice that it can flush out fears of rejection, exclusion or isolation.

If she is also experiencing a state of significance, the potent juice of serotonin bathes her brain with feelings of agency, belief, confidence – flushing out the fears of being discounted, sidelined or disrespected.

Imagine Jasmine experiencing all five  a five-fold state of belonging, security, freedom, significance and meaning. Her ability to connect with people quickly unlocks trust in the group. Her calm brain sees things so clearly, cutting through the clutter, constantly re-focusing the team on what matters. Her creative thinking permeates the conversation with a sense of possibility – possibility that is infused with a sense of agency and purpose. Jasmine’s juiced brain makes her indispensable.

The addition of each juice does not produce a 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 sum. It’s multiplicative. Our clarity multiplies the impact of our connection which multiplies the impact of our creativity, our possibility and our purpose. The juices working in concert are a source of super-performance that scientists do not yet understand. It’s the inter-relationships of the juices that creates human magic.

Read the rest of the article by Brady Wilson


Oh, you’re in Procurement…so what do you do exactly?

eye glasses sitting on a mouse pad

Have you ever told someone you’re a Procurement Professional, and then spent the next 20 minutes explaining what a Procurement Professional does?


Why is it that doctors and lawyers can simply say they’re doctors or lawyers and leave it at that…but as Procurement Professionals we turn ourselves into pretzels trying to justify our reason for existence?


One of the reasons is because the procurement industry, and we ourselves as Procurement Professionals, haven’t done a good job of defining our role in an organization


Remember, if you don’t define your role then somebody else will do it for you


So if your internal clients think your job is to get quotes, cut POs and make sure invoices get paid…those are the only things they’ll want your help with


But if you can articulate and, more importantly, demonstrate your understanding of your organizations competitive market positioning


And how you’re responsible for aligning the supply chain with the organizations goals and objectives


Then getting quotes and cutting POs isn’t who you are, it’s just some of the MANY things you do as a Procurement Professional


No here’s the catch…saying and doing are two very different things


So before you start telling your colleagues about secondary sourcing strategies to mitigate offshore supply chain risk


Or why it’s important to implement formal vendor management and category management programs in your organization


You should also have the skillset to do actually these things


And to help with that, we just launched new Strategic Sourcing Essentials eLearning course I co-developed with my friend and colleague, Mark Morrissey


Mark and I cover 6 modules in the course:


  1. Aligning Strategic Sourcing with corporate goals and objective
  2. Competitive Positioning and Supply Chain Risk
  3. Leading Class Practices
  4. Vendor Management
  5. Negotiation Strategies
  6. Case Study – Process Transformation


You can go through the course at your own pace, and when you’ve completed it and submitted your responses to the final case study, you’ll receive a digital certificate of completion


You’ll also have access to the course for 1 year so you can always go back and review any of the modules or chat with your peers that are also taking the course


And if you’re in a team of 3 or more people, you can take advantage of our corporate rates


2020’s been a tough year and many people didn’t get a chance for any meaningful professional development


Well this is a chance to, not only tick a box on your year-end review, but actually build on your skillset as a procurement professional


For more information you can visit our website


Thanks and hope to see you in the course,








Five Driving Needs Part 2 – Why are Psychological Needs so Biologically Urgent?

baby holding an adult's finger

Learn why need-meeting is now central to the healthy function of your organization.

Fifty years ago, Drs. Edward Deci and Richard Ryan began exploring what produces vitality in humans. Their work evolved into one of the most prominent theories of human motivation, Self-Determination Theory. According to this theory, when our core psychological needs are fulfilled, vitality and optimal performance naturally occur. Likewise, when they are thwarted, depletion and poor performance naturally ensue.

“Stated simply, basic psychological need satisfaction and frustration can substantially account for both the ‘dark’ and ‘bright’ side of people’s functioning.

Whereas the satisfaction of the psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness contributes to proactivity, integration, and well-being, the frustration of these same psychological needs, especially from significant caregivers, leaves one prone to passivity, fragmentation, and ill-being.” – Vansteenkiste & Ryan, 2013. P. 263

This points to a simple fact: need-meeting is now central to the healthy function of our organizations. There was a day when meeting needs was relegated to the front line – something salespeople and customer service reps did for customers. It is now impossible to sustain innovation, maintain employee engagement or create great customer experiences without knowing and meeting needs at every node and nexus of the organization.

But why are our psychological needs so biologically urgent?

Read the whole article by Brady Wilson


Five Driving Needs – Part 1 – A Framework for Understanding the Energized Brain

Woman thinking

Your powerfully productive day is the result of an energized brain.

Imagine yourself at the end of a powerfully productive day. You became so immersed in your work you lost all track of time. Every task you checked off increased the buzz. By end of day, the sense of progress was palpable.

What creates a day like that? One could imagine it was sandwiched between two dismally unproductive days. So what changed?

It wasn’t your talents – they don’t change from one day to the next. Neither was it your education, your experience, or skills – they don’t spike from one day to the next. It’s unlikely that gritting your teeth and trying harder contributed a thing.

Consider this possibility: that day was the result of an energized brain. Not raw physical verve and mojo, but what we call intelligent energy – the ability to sustain focus in the midst of distractions, manage your emotions in high stakes situations, process oceans of information, pick out the vital bits of intel and connect the dots in surprising ways.

This article de-mystifies that ever-elusive, powerfully productive day. It doesn’t occur randomly or by chance. There is a pattern:

  1. Your driving needs are fulfilled
  2. Those fulfilled needs energize your brain
  3. That energy endows you with peak performance.


Question: what do people mean when they say, “The juices are flowing”?

Answer: Ideas are popping. The volume of ideas, The novelty of those ideas. The usability of those ideas. In short, creativity is getting easy here.

Question: what happens when your phone runs out of juice?

Answer: Brilliant technology – now useless – a paperweight – because it ran out of energy.

Question: what do people mean when they say, “I’ve got the juice to do this now”?

Answer: “I have energy to tackle this.”

The point? Juice is vernacular for energy. You’ve no doubt heard of dopamine – it’s an electro-chemical juice. When it flows – we’re more creative. There are several kinds of juices – each endowing us with a unique functionality. When GABA flows we feel calm. When serotonin flows we feel confident. When oxytocin flows we feel rapport. These juices prime our brains with the connectivity and current that produce peak performance, but they transcend plumbing and electricity by a long shot.

These brain-friendly juices create an emotional state, priming us with feelings of connection, clarity, creativity and confidence. Each juice is a form of intelligent energy that makes our brains smarter and our bodies more vitalized. Juice makes things easier – it shows up in the numbers – and in the work environment.

At Juice, Inc, we have partnered with many leaders to release this intelligent energy in their employees. Here’s what they told us:

Read the full article

By Brady Wilson

Read the next article in our Five Driving Needs Series: Why are Psychological Needs so Biologically Urgent?