Dear Diary: Passion, Commitment and Engagement in the Workplace


My post this week was inspired by this introduction to The Florence Prescription by Joe Tye. This book was meant to answer the question “What would Florence [Nightingale] do?”

You can find a copy of the first three chapters here:

It all started recently when I was so frustrated by the health crisis we have currently where I live. I was battling with getting private health care to work together with provincial health care and I kept hitting a brick wall purely because of people’s attitudes towards their work. I’m finding more and more that people have lost their passion and commitment to their work and are mostly not personally engaged with their work. When confronted with a work related problem, instead of finding a solution, they look for ways to “pass the buck” and when there is nowhere to “pass the buck”, they send you on a wild goose chase from pillar to post like you’re a tennis ball in a tennis match with nobody taking responsibility for giving you the answers you need.

This resulted in me tweeting on Twitter: “Private health care vs provincial health care. A headache trying to get them to work together. Why?”

Joe Tye – author of The Florence Prescription responded to my tweet by suggesting I read his book and very kindly sent me the link to the first three chapters of the book. Just by clicking on the link (which I have provided in the first paragraph) I found this about why people are no longer passionate, committed and engaged in their workplaces and it shed some light on why I’ve also disengaged at my own workplace. Let me share with you what I’ve learned from this book:-

Organisations need to have a culture of ownership, one that instills optimism, determination and resilience in the people who work there. This is not present at my current workplace and in many other workplaces I know of.

• People are loyal to [organisational] culture not strategy
• Culture provides resilience in tough times
• Culture is more efficient than strategy
• When culture and strategy collide, culture will always win
• Cultural miscues are far more damaging and potentially fatal than strategic miscues
• Culture provides greater protection against legal and ethical violations than strategy can
• Over time, culture has greater impact on productivity and profitability than strategy

The Florence Prescription describes eight [personal] characteristics of a culture of ownership:

• Commitment (to values, vision and mission of the company/organisation and own personal values)
• Engagement (being fully present, physically and emotionally)
• Passion (loving your work and letting it show)
• Initiative (seeing what needs to be done and taking action to get it done)
• Stewardship (effectively shepherding limited resources)
• Belonging (being included, feeling included and including others)
• Fellowship (being a friend and having friends at work)
• Pride (in your profession, your work and yourself)

Your core values define:
Who you are
What you stand for, and
What you won’t stand for

Organisational culture does not change until people in the organisation change. The book also talks about the Self-Empowerment Pledge (seven promises):-

• Responsibility
• Accountability
• Determination
• Contribution
• Resilience
• Perspective
• Faith

The book also talks about The Pickle Pledge: I will turn every complaint into a blessing or a constructive suggestion i.e.

By taking The Pickle Pledge, I am promising myself that I will no longer waste my time and energy on blaming, complaining and gossiping nor will I commiserate with those who steal my energy with their blaming, complaining and gossiping.

The Pickle Pledge acknowledges that we cannot be a negative, bitter, cynical, sarcastic pickle sucker at our workstations and then suddenly, magically flip an inner switch and become genuinely caring and compassionate towards our colleagues and customers/clients when required to “perform”. The Pickle challenge holds us and our co-workers more accountable for the attitudes we bring to work.

According to this book, people who are committed, engaged and passionate take initiative i.e. if they see a problem, they either fix it or refer it to someone who can fix it.

Just by reading through these notes I have made as I read through the first three chapters, I have seen many reasons for me no longer engaging at work and I can see why so many others in various workplaces I have to contact also have dis-engaged.

Organisational culture has gone out of the window for many. Company/organisation values, vision and mission statements are so strategic that the employees find it difficult to engage and buy-in (commit) to these statements.

This makes it very difficult to have passion for the work you do and to show this passion. Employees no longer feel a sense of belonging (being included, feeling included), they no longer take pride in their profession, their work and in themselves.

Where have we gone wrong?

What can we do to change the status quo?

2 thoughts on “Dear Diary: Passion, Commitment and Engagement in the Workplace

  1. Hello Natalie I happened across this blog post – if you send me your mailing address ( I’ll be happy to send you a real copy of The Florence Prescription. Thanks for all you do!!! – Joe Tye


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