“Do You Believe in Magic” was a song recorded by the group The Lovin Spoonful in 1965. Written by John Sebastian, the song’s message suggests that music is like magic that can free your troubled soul.
Magic can also serve as a context for the never ending debate around engagement. With federal employee engagement scores lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon wheel rut, we could certainly use some magic to free our souls from the agony of disengagement.
Tracy Maylett and Paul Warner know a little something about magic and its connection to engagement when they wrote their 2014 book, “MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.” Their work was based on extensive review of psychological literature, 2013 study of 13 million responses, 20 years of research and several business case studies.
They claim the ultimate engagement experience must combine the best efforts of the heart, head and hands which results in meaning, autonomy, growth, impact and connection-MAGIC.
Does your work have purpose beyond the job itself? Does your job inspire you? Do your day-to-day activities have any meaning?
Maylett and Warner advocate that work consists of two types of meaning–inherent and associated.
Inherent meaning would refer to the joy that a teacher gets from teaching children to read for the first time.
For those who cannot find inherent meaning in their work, associated meaning is a nice plan B. For example, my grandfather hated his job as a correctional officer but found great meaning in the prospect that this vocation allowed him to send his daughter (my mother) to college.
Do you have the ability to control and shape your work in a way that best suits your talents and produces optimal results?
It is what Chris Major talks about when he said “As I am educated, I don’t need someone standing over my shoulder “supervising” me all the time.”
Are you better today than you were yesterday? Do you feel challenged and stretched in your job?
We are most engaged when we are not kicking back but kicking butt.
Are you having an impact in your workplace? Are you part of a results-oriented culture that creates worthwhile outcomes directly linked to your efforts?
Do you leave work each day feeling like you were able to accomplish something significant?
Do you have a sense of belonging about your work that is greater than yourself? Do you feel that you belong?
Maylett and Warner point out that you are fully integrated when you experience social, organizational, mission, tasks and value connections within your organization.
Do you believe in the MAGIC?