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What the Royals’ Rally Mantis Reveals about Engagement and Motivation

What the Royals’ Rally Mantis Reveals about Engagement and Motivation


Never underestimate the power of an engaged team member.

Over the past few weeks, the Kansas City Royals have rallied with the help of a praying mantis. The engaging little insect has had a giant-sized effect on the team’s internal motivation, transforming the Royals from lackluster performers to contenders for a spot in the post-season.

The benefits of engagement are significant in businesses, too. An IBM Kenexa study of 64 organizations revealed that organizations with highly engaged employees generate double the annual net revenue of organizations whose employees are less engaged. It’s up to you as the business leader to encourage engagement. Here’s an example of what occurs when you don’t.

Give Me a Sense of Purpose

Joe asks Terry to run a report of customer service calls on a weekly basis. Initially, Terry runs the report as assigned. Joe doesn’t comment on the report. After a few weeks, Terry begins to see the report as unimportant “busy work.” Terry stops producing the report until Joe notices that he hasn’t seen one for a few weeks. Joe feels frustrated that he has to ask repeatedly for the report. “It’s such a simple task,” he reflects. “Why can’t Terry just get this done?”

The simple task isn’t getting done because Terry lacks a sense of purpose. It happens when a business leader, team member or both begin to perceive a role or responsibility as a low-level task. Without a purpose that connects their work to a bigger picture, people disengage and lose the motivation that keeps them on track. An intentional conversation to re-engage Terry might sound like this:

Set the purpose // “Our business depends on the quality of the service we’re providing. Knowing how our customers think we’re doing on a weekly basis is the best way for us to learn what we’re doing right and what we could be doing differently. This report is important because it tells that story.”

Show confidence // “I depend on having this information summarized and ready to review every Tuesday. I’m asking for you to handle these reports because I know how thorough and capable you are.”

Give permission to think big // “If you see red flags or positive trends from week to week, add them to the report.”

Express appreciation // “Thank you—it’s a big help to have the information on a regular basis and have another set of eyes reviewing the reports.”

You may not have a praying mantis in your dugout, but you have the power of engagement working for your business—if you use it on purpose.

Elizabeth Usovicz

Written by

Elizabeth Usovicz is principal of WhiteSpace Consulting®, specializing in top-line revenue strategies, business development coaching, qualitative research and strategy session facilitation. She can be reached at elizabeth@whitespacerevenue.com or (913) 638-8693.

Categories: Management


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