Listening,Engagement and the SPICE Forum

Listening,Engagement and the SPICE Forum

With increasing levels of remote working, it’s clearly more important than ever to work with colleagues to increase levels of engagement. We maintain that levels are not likely to increase, without leaders reflecting on their own engagement and what motivates them.

The work of the Institute for Employment Studies seems a good place to start in reflecting on the engagement.  They identify the primary of driver for high levels of engagement is the ‘sense of feeling valued and involved’ and that this has six main components:

  1. Involving people in decision-making
  2. Empowering the voicing of ideas 
  3. Listening carefully to those ideas
  4. Valuing all contributions
  5. Developing people in their job role
  6. Demonstrating concern for people’s well-being.

I’ve presented these six components as with words ending in the suffix ‘ing’ so, ‘involving’, etc.  This is because there is that obvious requirement these components are ongoing.

In fact, the words I’ve used – Involving, empowering, listening, valuing, developing and demonstrating – each names an action.  Whilst I could write many words to describe each of these words in action.  The truth is, people know them when they experience them, when they see them lived.  This, it seems to me is the heart of empowering engagement.

We are seeking to live out a commitment to engagement, applying these six components, not just to relationships with colleagues, but also to engagement with friends, clients and indeed with our competition and detractors (everyone has some).  In fact, I reckon you should listen the most carefully to your detractors, I call them ‘the 5%’.  I mean those who will carp on or whisper behind their hands.  Some may remember it was Martin Scorsese’s Godfather, that made famous the saying from Sun Tzu’s, Art of War, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’.  Certainly, I have no difficulty listening to ‘the 5%’.  Walking the talk of engagement, I want as many people as possible to share as we develop.

Out of our commitment to these six components of engagement, we have launched our SPICE Forum and we’d love to hear from you.  You can find out more by visiting – We’re setting up a number of discussion threads.  We’d really value your involvement and contributions to those and other threads as we develop the SPICE Tools and our work more generally.

For those unfamiliar with our work, through Innovation People, we’ve researched and developed the SPICE Framework, a systems-based approach that integrates the assessment, development and performance management of people in a single mobile first platform and through what are now called the SPICE Tools.  Interestingly what has emerged is the product of listening and engagement.  We’ve worked closely with a wide range of clients, partners and universities.  We’ve worked with tiny micro-businesses and social enterprises through to global businesses and very major Public Sector organisations.  Perhaps most importantly, what’s been created is a reflection on real-life listening to people.  As a result, what’s been created is real-life, hands-on, practical tools borne of listening.

We’re committed to continuing to listen and to taking account of the experience insight and opinions of others.  Please do join in.  We really would appreciate your contribution at

Written by Michael Croft

October 14, 2020