Growth, Innovation and High Performance. Part: 4 “Energy Trends”

executive energy

Energy Results for Leadership Pulse

The Leadership Pulse allows us to determine the degree to which larger groups of firms are ready for growth. In this set of questions, we assessed valour. We also measured energy. Below are some of the energy results.

Energy results: Average energy in this Leadership Pulse (using the 0 to 10 scale) was 7.01. This is the highest average energy for the leadership pulse sample measured to date (the Leadership Pulse began in 2003). The latest increase is statistically significant (p≤0.05), calculated from the prior average energy of 6.64 measured at the end of 2012. Figure 3 shows that the overall average energy is on the rise, and has been since September of 2010.

Figure 3: Energy Trend for All Leadership Participants

While we cannot effectively predict whether energy will continue to rise, we do know that energy is not yet close to its optimum level. In fact, the average energy where participants stated they were at their best was 8.11. As shown in Figure 4, only 16.1% of respondents indicated they were at their best energy and only another 11.0% of respondents were half a point or closer to their best energy. Over 50% of leaders who
responded were 1 point or more away from their best energy. From the research we have conducted with over 1 million data points on energy, we know that being 1 or more points  away from ideal energy level increases risk of lower performance.

Figure 4: Points Away from Best Energy for All Leadership Participants

Once again, we see the relationship between energy and financial performance. Figure 5 shows a significant difference (p≤0.10) in the average energy of individuals in High to Very High performing organizations as compared to Average performing organizations and Low to Very Low performing organizations. The difference between the High and Very High performing organizations and the Low and Very Low performing organizations is nearly a full point.

Figure 5: Energy vs. Financial Performance

It is not just the energy level, but how close to groups are to their optimal energy that predicts performance. Table 2 shows that high and very high performing organizations are both just over half a point below their best energy, while low and very low performing organizations are more than a full point from their best energy.

Table 2: Distance from Average Energy by Firm Level Financial Performance


Data Driven Leadership Learning!

Energy and Valour

Fully engaged individuals are high energy individuals, usually working at an energy level close to their optimal energy. The average energy for the fully engaged quadrant is 7.68 compared to the average energy of the other quadrants which is 6.27. (This difference of 1.41 points is statistically significant at p≤0.001.) Also, fully engaged individuals are closer to their best energy. The fully engaged group has an average energy that is 0.54 below their average best energy, while the other quadrants have an average energy that is 1.76 below their average best energy. (This difference of 1.22 is also statistically significant at p≤0.001.)

The relationship between energy, valour or sense of urgency leads to intervention strategies that can help an organization sustain growth, innovation and high performance. We find that regular energy measurement provides leading indicators for leaders. The process of asking employees about their energy and using energy as one part of an overall strategic metrics strategy makes employees feel valued. By being able to contribute to firm-level knowledge, employees get a better sense of ownership in their job. When discussing their energy data and other questions posed in pulse dialogues, employees feel rewarded.


Author: Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne

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