Mobility is not the most musical of words nor is it poetic in any way (yet real music and poetry arise from it).  Mobility is, amongst other things, the name given to a mental state by Tim Gallwey (The Inner Game) and much as the word does nothing for me what it stands for means almost everything.  It is the opposite of conformity and compliance.  It is not being stuck.  It is without fear or self-doubt.  Free of should, must or have to.  It is the ability to reach one’s goals in a fulfilling manner.

Many of our educational institutions are built on conformity and compliance.  Social conventions nurture it, many religions foster it.  Management practice does not help much either.  In this environment it is easy to forget who we are!

Employee engagement can be approached from compliance and conformity.  From tweaking the values, communications from the CEO to changes to the incentive system.   But true employee engagement must be a choice.  True employee engagement is a function of Mobility.

I met the CEO of a global professional service firm recently.  He felt there was a need to change the culture in the organization.  He was looking for, amongst other things a ‘coaching culture’.  He also wanted a business “without HR” meaning that he wanted managers to be responsible for their teams and to get away from the process driven approach of the current HR regime.  We had a fantastic meeting that resulted in a plan to find the true leaders in the business – not necessarily the people in the senior-most positions – to help them experience ‘Mobility’ and from that place have a good look at the organization and recreate the vision and values.

In due course I sent in the proposal.  Interestingly I have not managed to meet with the CEO since.  My hypothesis?  His need for control, to maintain authority, was too great for him too be able to invest in Mobility – and he is not alone in this.  A tragedy, because Mobility is the source of innovation, creativity and ultimately, productivity.