9 Steps to Engagement (Engagement Starts With You)


Here is a summary of key points about ‘Engagement Starts with You’. It should be particularly helpful as a summary for those International MBA students and graduates who attended my ‘ENGAGEMENT STARTS WITH YOU’ lecture at the University of Leicester. Followed by a two day ‘Employee Engagement’ workshop. Also, on the 3rd September delegates at the Association for Public Sector Excellence Annual Conference in Swansea. It was a pleasure to meet you all.

Firstly, why is Personal Engagement (and Employee Engagement) so important?

Engagement statistics state that across organizations and countries that Employee Engagement is a major issue globally. In the UK, both the government and Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) see this as a significant factor impacting our productivity as a nation. An international gallop survey in 2011/12 stated that only 14% of employees in Western Europe were engaged in their work. 66% said they were not engaged and 20% disengaged.

To put this research into a context this suggests that in the average team of 10 people, if they were rowing a boat then 1 would be putting in lots of effort and steering/directing the boat, seven would be paddling occasionally and enjoying the scenery and two would be so disengaged that they would actively be trying to sink it!

Another fascinating statistic is that 35% of people said they would forgo a major pay rise to see their boss sacked!

Do you want to make a difference in your career? Would you prefer to be a boss that people would actually forgo a major pay rise to see you stay? Do you want to help reverse the trend and start out as a great employee?

If so striving to be a really engaging leader or manager has to be a key objective. It can also help in every aspect of your life!

Here are my key observations drawn from literally 100’s of expert interviews with highly engaging people and many years of personal business experience.

1. Event + Reaction = Outcome

This principle came from a conversation with Jack Canfield the co author of the’ Chicken Soup for the Soul Series’ and ‘The Success Principles’. The most engaging people know that if an EVENT occurs that their REACTION to it will determine the RESULT. They don’t blame others. They have the drive to take 100% responsibility for their outcome. As life is a series of events we must take care to react in an appropriate manner to achieve our outcome rather than going through life taking knee jerk reactions.

2. Engaging Leaders manage their mindset for results.

Highly engaging people work on their thoughts.

What you THINK and how you FEEL determines your ACTIONS and RESULTS

The highest achieving people in my network generally invest heavily in reading, listening to audio’s, personal development and education. They also have rituals including daily reading, sometimes visualisation, sometimes meditation and they ensure they get plenty of exercise.

To be engaging you need to be mindful and full of energy when you get to work. Your challenge then becomes to engage the rest of your team.

To find out more about Mindfulness check out the interview I did with Michael Carroll a former Vice President of Disney who shares how to become a more Mindful Leader.

3. Engaging leaders operate to their own PURPOSE, VISION AND VALUES

Engaging people have a clear understanding of their purpose in life. They can usually articulate it clearly . This drives them forward in every activity as they know why they are there.  They have a clear written vision of their future. They also tend to understand their values and live according to them . They are clear how their work fits into these and therefore everyday they can move forward with enthusiasm knowing they are following their principles and moving towards their vision in their work. Success in this area personally enables you to fully appreciate how important it is to articulate and set the vision in order to engage your people.

4. Engaging Leaders Are CURIOUS


Don’t lose your childhood curiosity. Remain really curious. Just like my boys here rock pooling in Cornwall. Within a recent video interview I hosted with with Andy Marshall,  Managing Director – International Franchise and Brand CSR at Costa Coffee he said the number one thing he looks for when recruiting is CURIOSITY. Costa have announced they will be recruiting 2500 more managers over the next 2 to 3 years! You now know what they are looking for!


Engaging people learn how to be strongcommunicators. They learn to communicate well in all of its forms. Whether that be a meeting, a keynote speech, a written article, email , talking to their team etc. The best communicators are prepared to dig deep and share personal stories about themselves that connect them with their audience. They are happy to be self deprecating if it gets the message across. They are authentic and their vulnerability is actually due to their confidence. It takes vulnerability and confidence to stand up in front of others, be honest one to one or talk live on radio, on TV for example and to share your opinion.
6. Engaging leaders are ‘INTERESTING’ AND ‘INTERESTED’

Engaging people by their nature are usually interesting. However, it is not all about them. I remember being really impressed when I interviewed Marshall Thurber the multi millionaire attorney, real estate professional and inspirational speaker. The reason being was that he was so interested in me after the interview. His interest made me feel special. And when I shared something about me he was not trying to share an even better story about himself. And you know what I bet he does this to everyone. When I asked him about the key to success he said it is to be ‘Interested’ rather than ‘interesting’. Want to be more engaging then give focus to being really interested.

7. Engaging leaders enable TALENT TO FLOW

Engaging people are in roles that they love. Roles that give them energy. Find out what you love doing and then work out how to make a living from it. Also, when you hire people make sure they are in roles they are most suited for. This way everyone is happier and productivity naturally higher. I find the team modelling work I do with Talent Dynamics really helps my clients to get this. Feel free to connect with me if you want to find out more.

8. Engaging Leaders have the Power To GET THINGS DONE (Whether They Feel Like It Or Not)

This is so important I wrote a book about it! Available for pre-order at Amazon. Engaging people are courageous and do whatever it takes to get the things done that they need to.
They will quite literally put themselves in predicaments which mean that they simply have no choice but to act. When people judge others based on their behaviour then they can only be impressed and engaged with those who know how to put their intentions into action and do it time and time again!



9. Finally Engagement is not a one stop shop. The show goes on. You don’t learn it and that is it! You must become aware of each moment of engagement, seek engagement opportunities and make every engagement count. Like Freddy Mercury wrote ‘The Show Must Go On’ and when I saw Queen last year it still was! The RESULTS WERE SPECTACULAR.



Over to YOU! Or if you need help with engagement then do get in touch

‘Engagement Starts With You’ Keynote

Today the best organizational leaders appreciate how very important ‘Employee Engagement’ is to productivity. However, during this speech Chris will share that in order to achieve greater business and personal productivity and success we must all take 100% personal responsibility for becoming more engaging as leaders and managers. His belief is that an essential place to look for greater engagement and productivity is to take a very good look at where we can improve ourselves. In this inspirational speech, Chris will share key principles and advice about increasing your personal engagement drawn from his own engagement and observation with a very extensive network of international experts and high achievers (including over 180 hours of interviews) as well as personal experience as a business consultant, thought leader, speaker, entrepreneur and author.

‘Employee Engagement 2 day Masterclass

Once people are clear how they can be more engaging they are ready to learn how to really engage others within their organization. Within this 2 day Masterclass which was originally designed and delivered for University MBA graduates we combine both the theory with the very practical including lots of world side examples. This includes the why, what, who, when and how to help you to create an employee engagement strategy for your workforce.

“Few presenters can connect the fate of kidnapped penguins to enhanced business performance strategies so seamlessly.  Chris works on our post-experience graduate courses and helps us to bring practitioner issues into focus for students. Articulate and considered, Chris carefully weaves anecdotes from his extensive commercial experience and stories from his personal life, to offer a critique on the state of contemporary management. Our students leave the room inspired to consider how they can play a part in elevating the importance of individual well being and the centrality of human relationships for the benefit of an organisation’s productivity.”
Dr. Matthew Higgins, University of Leicester School of Management




  • TFebruary 25 2024
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I recently shared a stage with Chris, speaking at a Business Growth Conference in Mayfair, London.Chris had a tough job as the final speaker at the end of the afternoon, following a series of speeches from highly experienced conference speakers.The organisers were delighted with Chris – he did a splendid job reminding the audience that they only had themselves to blame if they left that conference and failed to take appropriate action. Using humour and pathos, Chris engaged with the audience and left everyone feeling upbeat and raring to go at the end of the day. I highly commend Chris to you as a speaker.

Mike Ogilvie – National President Professional Speaking Association 2014/15 More Testimonials