1st Edition

The CEO: Chief Engagement Officer Turning Hierarchy Upside Down to Drive Performance

By John Smythe Copyright 2007
    226 Pages
    by Gower

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    You may be a senior executive wondering how to engage hundreds or thousands of employees in your vision, strategy or the transformation of the business; or a specialist in HR, communication and change, tasked with the challenge of 'aligning and mobilising' your people. In either case, you no longer want compliant people, you want individuals who will engage their creativity at work. For their part, engaged employees want a say in their work and in how the business changes. The Chief Engagement Officer explores a management philosophy which recognises the value of opening up decision making to the right groups to improve the quality of decisions and change, accelerate execution and broaden ownership. John Smythe asks what the concept of engagement means for employer and employee; tests whether and how it is different from internal communication and provides a practical framework for those who want to engage colleagues but need advice based on applied experience. The book includes a tapestry of reports from organisations who are engaging their employees to drive performance and change. The author demonstrates how powerful models, developed from his work at SmytheDorwardLambert, his time as an organisational fellow with McKinsey and Company, and his consultancy with Engage for Change, can be used to take this process forward in any organisation. The Chief Engagement Officer is a highly readable guide to the revolution that is needed in employee communication and organisational leadership from one of the most experienced and well-regarded experts on employee communication.

    Contents: Part One The End of Employee Coercion, The Beginning of Employee Engagement: The CEO, the Chief Engagement Officer; What engaging people means; The four approaches to engaging your people; The irrationality of leaders in engaging their people in strategy and change; Why employee engagement matters - the missing half of decision making; Measuring employee satisfaction is a waste of time. Part Two Designing and Implementing Effective Employee Engagement: Understanding previous habits of engagement to accelerate change; Preparing to design an effective employee engagement intervention; Brief guide to the methods and approaches in employee engagement interventions; Engagement to drive implementation of strategy. Part Three Engagement as Part of the Culture: Implications for Effective Engagement for Leaders, Employees and Internal Advisers: Creating a climate of engagement: Implications for leaders and organisational communication; Employee engagement - a review of the literature, Johanna Fawkes; Index.


    John Smythe has specialised in organisational communication and engagement. He is a founding partner of the Engage for Change consultancy. Previously he was an organisational fellow with McKinsey undertaking research into employee engagement, and John has also held senior public affairs posts for three American corporations: Occidental Oil, Bechtel Corporation and Marathon Oil. After leaving SmytheDorwardLambert in 2003, a consultancy which was acknowledged to be the thought leader in organisational communication, John was invited by McKinsey and Company to take a short term role as a visiting organisational fellow, undertaking research among sixty corporations and institutions in Europe and North America into current approaches in engaging leaders and employees in driving strategy and change. The research is available from Engage for Change. Before starting SmytheDorwardLambert in 1989 John had been behind a start up in the same field called Wolff Olins/Smythe (1985-1989). He published (with Colette Dorward and Jerome Reback, fellow founders of SmytheDorwardLambert) Corporate Reputation, The New Strategic Asset in 1989.

    Prize: Winner of the Book Award in the Best Learning category, IVCA (The International Visual Communication Association), 2007 Clarion Awards 'In this superb book, Smythe asks what the concept of engagement means for employer and employee; looks at whether and how it is different from internal communication, and provides a practical framework for those who want to engage colleagues but need advice based on real-world experience. Thoroughly researched and well written, Smythe provides a thoughtful and compelling book on a vital business issue that all too often is overlooked.' Reviewed by John Ling in The Marketer 'This is the most significant book for internal communicators in 25 years. Not since Roger D'Aprix's Communicating for Productivity in 1982 has there been a book more likely to impact what communicators do on the job than this one...if you buy one book this decade this is the one. Strongly recommended. ' Strategic Communication Management (Australia).