The Crucial Distinction Between Engagement & Compliance

I like the notion of engagement as the extent to which people feel like their strengths and passions shape the outcomes of their performance. According to this distinction, they would need to be clear on their passions and strengths. 

Compliance only cares about actions that serve prescribed commands. If the spectrum of anyone's strengths and passions are engaged, compliance doesn't care or measure for this as long as it commands the compliance expected. If anything, compliance deems it as failure if people engage their passions and strengths to create outcomes outside the scope of compliance.  

In a culture of compliance, those in charge are continuously unhappy because they always expect more from people who, because they feel disengaged, work tirelessly to avoid doing anything more than the very minimal in thinking, interacting and production. Minimal, or less, is what's top of mind for disengaged people. They work without attention to the breadth of their strengths and depths of passion and everything reflects just that.

Unfortunately, the salve of motivational and change programs do little to move the engagement needle. They are often thinly veiled versions of the command and compliance culture.

People show up engaged every day because they feel they work in an organization that explicitly cares if they have strengths they aren't using and passions that aren't aligned and realized.