How to Kill Employee Disengagement One Question at a Time

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Ascanio Pignatelli | 0 comments

Matthew Robbins wasn't your typical disengaged employee. He loved his job and his coworkers- even the organization (a Fortune 1000 biotech company) he worked for. But he had a belief that was holding him back: a belief that was trapping his energy and keeping him from ever really trying that hard. 

This frustrated everyone, but none more so than Sara Thompson- who happened to be the Global Employee Engagement Manager. And his boss! Although Matthew hadn’t been her direct report for that long, Sara could sense he wasn’t performing anywhere near his full potential. She just didn't know why- until that fateful summer day.

A Passion for Performance and Motivation

Sara’s life’s mission is to unleash the greatness in others. She was born with a sixth sense and could measure a person’s commitment to their job or task better than any employee engagement assessment. She has a passion for helping people reach their full potential that is both unequivocal and unapologetic.   

The Power of Language

Matthew is in the middle of presenting last year’s Employee Recognition Program results to the entire HR leadership team when he nonchalantly quips, “We can work as hard as we want but we can’t control our success.” It didn't phase anyone else but Sara intuitively knew that that statement might explain Matthew’s low energy.

Core Self-Evaluations and Employee Engagement 

Sara was well versed with the emerging branch of industrial-organizational psychology known as Core Self-Evaluations theory. She knew that the thoughts employees have about their capabilities are directly responsible for their satisfaction at work and how engaged they are with their tasks. One of the most important beliefs is the locus of control.

An Internal Vs External Locus of Control 

The locus of control is the extent to which a person believes that they are responsible for the circumstances in their lives. Derived from the Latin word Loci (which means location) the locus can be either internal or external. Internals believe they are responsible for their successes or failures. Externals on the other hand believe the opposite- that luck, destiny, or forces outside their control, are responsible for their fate.

The Link Between Job Satisfaction and Performance

For a manager, where the locus lies, can mean the difference between a very engaged or disengaged employee. 

Since internals feel they are in control of their circumstances they are far more empowered, energized and inspired with their work. As a result they are happier, more fulfilled and produce better work than their external counterparts.

Externals on the other hand, feel as if life is happening to them, and they have no control. They are at the effect of life- not the cause, so they blame their success or failure to a force outside their control. This belief saps their motivation so they avoid putting any real effort into what they are doing. 

Fortunately, Sara was a black belt coach, who instinctively knew how to use effective questioning to shift Matthew’s locus of control. 

Shifting a Disempowered Mindset

Sara decided it was time to upgrade Matthew’s outlook. She waited for everyone to leave then after a bit of chit chat asked, “So what do you think is responsible for your success?”

Matthew shrugged his shoulders then replied, “Usually my circumstances.” Then sheepishly chuckled, “Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes I don’t.”

Sara smiled. She needed Matthew to realize it was just a belief that was holding him back. “Huh. Where do you think that belief came from?”

Matthew took a moment to think about that. “That's an interesting question. I have no clue.”

She now wanted him to realize how his belief was affecting his work, and probably his life in a negative way. “I understand. So I’m curious, what impact do you think that belief is having on your life?”

The disgusted look on Matthew's face said it all. “Actually.…it's probably what's holding me back- why I never really…..really try that hard.”

Sara let Matthew grasp the significance of his own conclusion before asking, “So imagine for a moment that you had the opposite belief- that you are entirely responsible for your successes. Your failures. What would that be like?”

It seemed like an eternity before Matthew smiled and uttered, “Wow. I think that would be amazing. Very powerful. But also scary.”

And there it was: the root cause of every disempowering belief- FEAR. With the waters now bloody Sara went in for the kill. “Why scary?”

Matthew took a deep breath, “Well I guess that would make me responsible for everything in my life.”

Sara could sense that Matthew was in the midst of another breakthrough. So she did what only the greatest coaches are capable of doing- she kept her mouth shut.

Then a smile cracked across Matthew’s face and Sara knew he had finally realized what had been always holding him back. She waited then sensed the perfect moment and asked “So what's stopping you from believing that you're the one that's responsible for your success?”

“Proof, I guess.”

Sara acknowledged with a nod then asked “How much proof?”

Matthew was off again- swimming against the current in an ocean of uncertainty. And just when he started swallowing too much water Sara threw him a lifeline. “Matthew, you know what's more powerful than proof?”


“Faith. And here's the interesting part. For the faithful no proof is ever necessary. And for the skeptics no proof is ever enough.” She then smiled warmly and walked quietly back to her office.

Although now alone Matthew couldn’t help but slowly mutter, “Wow. Faith. Huh?” 

In the months that followed, Matthew showed up to work with more energy and commitment- and a lot more faith. One day while walking by his office Sara couldn't help but notice how excited and animated he was so she stopped and asked, “Everything okay?”

“Actually awesome! I just scored a perfect 40 on that Core-Self Evaluations Assessment.”  

Sara smiled then quipped “George Michael would've been proud.”

To find out your Core Self-Evaluations results you can take your assessment HERE


About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli helps HR leaders unlock the full promise, energy and creativity of their millennials. Ascanio is an award winning speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Engaging Millennials: How to attract, retain and fully engage the most talented millennials." His company E3 Solutions helps executives improve their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces.











Judge, Timothy A. (2009) Core Self-Evaluations and Work Success Current Directions in Psychological Science

The Rise of the Results-Only Work Environment

Posted on February 05, 2017 by Ascanio Pignatelli | 0 comments

In 2008 Eric Severson, head of HR for one of Gap Inc.'s fastest growing businesses faced a crisis: turnover among the production team had spiked to almost 40% annually. Gap had just launched an important e-sourcing initiative- their San Francisco employees were pulling all-nighters at the office to supervise e-sourcing auctions in Asia then returning to work early the next morning. The stress and overwhelm was burning employees out at an alarming rate and Eric needed to find an immediate solution.


A Mission to Reengineer Corporate Ecosystems

All of his life Eric Severson knew his calling was to transform workplaces so that both businesses and the people in them could thrive. His fluency in the science of motivation and performance, and in depth knowledge of even the most cutting-edge management practices had played a big role in his success to date. The crisis at Gap Inc. would now either make or break the rest of his career.


Conventional Solutions to Employee Engagement

Immediately, Eric and his team started implementing every solution at their disposal:

  • A best-in-class flexible work arrangement toolkit (still available at
  • An employee Balance Council
  • "No Meeting Fridays"
  • And "Laptops for All" (an early capital investment in laptops for professional employees for whom traditional desktop computers were the standard-issue workstation).

Although every initiative showed promise initially, none had any lasting effect on employee engagement or retention. Things were getting desperate and Eric decided it was time to try something radical.


The Decentralized Workplace

In the mid-2000s, Eric had learned of Best Buy's quantitative results with ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) at the National WorkLife Conference. ROWE is a management strategy where employees are evaluated on job performance, not workplace attendance: a decentralized leadership approach that gives employees the freedom they need to better balance their lives. “I knew it was the holy grail of work-life solutions, because it was the only one that got at the root cause of burnout: lack of freedom to integrate one's life,” explains Eric. However, the program was so radical that he knew there would be a lot of resistance from the rest of the leadership team.


Management Buy-in and Support

Big change is almost always rejected initially, and the idea of complete worker autonomy can be downright scary. Eric had to get the buy-in of the senior management team so he had outlet leaders participate in a ROWE Leadership Summit led by CultureRx. During the summit the leaders realized the value of having employees focus on outcomes rather than just making sure they were at their desks during work hours.


Cultivating a Culture of Competence

ROWE helps to enable a culture where employees partner with their leaders to focus on measurable results and ensure autonomy in their jobs. With ROWE managers become “Results Coaches.” They transform into highly motivated individuals who enable a culture of competence by treating everyone as adults and responsible for their work. With management aligned Gap launched a pilot program that became an immediate success. They then scaled it to the entire division, then throughout the company.


The Boost in Job Satisfaction

To be their best, most productive and happiest selves, employees needed more freedom. With increased autonomy came increased job satisfaction and productivity. As one manager put it, “I love ROWE and I have never seen my employees happier, while at the same time having a rise in productivity.” The benefits were equally lauded by employees with one stating, “ROWE really lets me prioritize my time. I feel empowered and actually more responsible at my job. It makes me feel more in control and in charge of my work.”


The Holy Grail of Work-Life Balance Initiatives?

The belief that being happier and more balanced at work yields better business has been reflected in Gap's corporate wellbeing brand, “Better You. Better Gap.” Gap understands that employees cannot be productive at work without being happy and engaged at home.


Gap’s Cultural Revolution

Today, many at Gap consider ROWE a cultural revolution. Three out of four employees say that the most special aspect of Gap’s work environment is ROWE. The complete autonomy over how they employees do their work and are held accountable has both managers and employees feeling more energized and engaged. They have even reported a greater focus on quality and an increased sense of trust with their coworkers at all levels.


Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

ROWE created a true culture transformation at Gap and a distinct competitive advantage in talent acquisition, engagement, and performance. The environment has now become key in attracting and retaining current and potential employees, as well as a market differentiation–even among brands under the Gap umbrella.



According to Eric, within one year of implementing ROWE the Gap brand reached its best performance in ten years. “While I would never try to argue that ROWE is singularly responsible for this performance, there is no doubt in my mind that it is a significant contributing factor.” Eric is still confused as to why more companies don’t try ROWE. “Part of me loves that they don’t because of the competitive advantage it gives us. The humanist in me, though, is sad that most people don’t have the freedom to work this way.”


The Results of ROWE at Gap Inc.

  • Production turnover dropped by 50%
  • Employee engagement scores improved by 13%, the best performance in the Division
  • Several hundred thousand dollars in savings were realized by reduced employee turnover costs.


About Eric Severson

Eric Severson was appointed by US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to the National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) in October 2014.

Eric, senior vice president of Global Talent Solutions for Gap Inc., joins 26 other members in providing advice and counsel to Secretary Pritzker and the Department of Commerce on issues that will help U.S. communities, businesses, and the workforce become more globally competitive.

“Through our ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ the Commerce Department has prioritized supporting entrepreneurs and helping foster innovation, which are key drivers of America’s global competitiveness,” said Secretary Pritzker. “I look forward to working with the Council to advance innovation and cultivate a skilled workforce for today’s 21st century jobs.”


About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli helps Fortune 1000 companies unlock the full promise, energy and creativity of their millennials. Ascanio is an award winning speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Engaging Millennials: How to attract, retain and fully engage the most talented millennials." His company E3 Solutions helps executives improve their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces.


20 Keys to Engaging Millennials

Posted on January 03, 2017 by Ascanio Pignatelli | 0 comments

According to Gallup:

  • Millennials are the most likely generation to switch jobs
  • Six in 10 millennials are open to new job opportunities
  • Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace

A lot of leaders I speak to find managing and engaging millennials the toughest part of their job. They're often frustrated and disappointed with their performance calling them:

"impatient and entitled know-it-all's, who care more about FaceBook than their work."

And while it is true that millennials are the least engaged generation at work, it is also true that the problem could be easily remedied if managers made a few workplace adjustments and adopted a more coach-centric leadership style. That's what I took away after interviewing 16 leaders in the HR and employee engagement field. I specifically asked them:

“Why are companies struggling to engage millennials and what do you suggest?”

Here are their 20 key takeaways, (The full article is here):

  1. Maintain ongoing conversations
  2. Provide them with opportunities to learn and grow
  3. Hold them accountable
  4. Check-In with them daily
  5. Act more as a coach/mentor
  6. Give them regular feedback that is helpful and constructive
  7. Listen
  8. Involve them in decision making whenever possible
  9. Be empathetic
  10. Recognize their accomplishments
  11. Find out what motivates them personally
  12. Try to make their work more flexible and interesting  
  13. Integrate the needed technology
  14. Make sure they find value and meaning in their work
  15. Create an empowerment-based work culture
  16. Offer them perks that resonate
  17. Keep an open floor plan
  18. Encourage team bonding activities
  19. Maintain open lines of communication
  20. Help them map their careers

About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli helps Fortune 1000 companies unlock the full promise, energy and creativity of their millennials. Ascanio is an award winning speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Engaging Millennials: How to attract, retain and fully engage the most talented millennials." His company E3 Solutions helps executives improve their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces.

How to Boost Millennial Engagement- 16 Experts Weigh In

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Ascanio Pignatelli | 0 comments

According to Gallup:

  • Millennials are the most likely generation to switch jobs
  • Six in 10 millennials are open to new job opportunities
  • Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace

A lot of leaders I speak to find managing and engaging millennials the toughest part of their job. They're often frustrated and disappointed with their performance finding them to be:

"impatient and entitled know-it-all's, who care more about FaceBook than work."

And while it's true that millennials are the least engaged generation at work, it's also true that the problem could be easily remedied if managers made a few workplace adjustments and adopted a more coach-centric leadership style. That's my takeaway after interviewing 16 employee engagement experts for my forthcoming book "Engaging Millennials". I specifically asked them:

“Why are companies struggling to engage millennials and what do you suggest?”

Here’s what they shared, (or click here for their 20 key takeaways):

Brandon Rigoni (Workplace Consultant at The Gallup Organization)

Organizations need to understand exactly what millennials ARE looking for in a job and engage their current millennial employees to reduce turnover. Ongoing conversations and feedback are particularly important to millennials- probably because they grew up in a very digitally connected age with a continuous flow of information at their fingertips. 

Not all millennials are job hoppers looking for fun and informal work environments. It turns out that other aspects of a job like opportunities to learn and grow, working for a great manager and being interested in their work, are the most attractive things to millennials in a job opportunity and millennials who are engaged in their work do not tend to be job hoppers.

Furthermore, millennials want to be held accountable and engagement is highest when they are able to meet with their boss at least once per week - daily checkins are even better! 

Finally, organizations need their managers to be coaches and to do a better job creating that continuous flow of information millennials are accustomed to experiencing outside of the workplace. Leaders need to engage in ongoing conversations and delivering regular feedback all based on what their millennial employees do best rather than trying to fix weaknesses.

Mark Phelps (Chief Engagement Enthusiast at TNS Employee Insights) 

In many ways, millennials are just like the generations before them. They want to succeed, add value, and have meaningful work. Where they differ from past generations is that they have grown up in a totally connected society, where transparency is required, and employment for life is something their grandparents reminisce about. Engaging your workforce is always easier when leaders at all levels listen before giving commands, involve others to increase ownership, know how to be empathetic because it is the right thing to do, and provide proper support while making sure that millennials (and all others) continue to grow and learn from increasing responsibilities. 

QK Toralba (HR Manager | Employee Engagement at Acquire BPO)

Companies fail to involve millennials in the processes that involve change. The workforce is continuously evolving--millennials want to visualize clear and attainable short term goals then plan and set long term aspirations. In a fast-paced corporate world, it is very important that recognition is done in real time. Rewards that are tied to performance should be clear and set prior to any deployment. Letting employees feel valued, recognized and that there are opportunities for growth are key to having an engaged workforce.

Mark Fulford (Director, Client Insights - Employee Engagement at SMG - Service Management Group)

Millennials expect to be recognized much more frequently than members of previous generations. There is a great disconnect between perceptions of recognition given versus received. For example, if you survey 1000 employees if they feel they receive the proper recognition for their contributions few will say “yes”. Now, ask their managers and most would say they do. 

Nicole Cunningham (Senior Manager of Employee Experience at Knot Standard I Custom)

Companies are failing to focus on what motivates the individual. Although millennials enjoy working in groups and working collectively with the team, they are individually motivated. Every employee is motivated by something different, let that be investment in education, training and development, additional vacation time, or bonus pay. Companies should be investing in employees differently than they invested in generations prior and find out what motivates each individual, how they can work together as a team, and how as an employer, they can invest in both and map career progression.

Jonathan Villaire (Project Manager and Employee Engagement Leader at AIG)

The biggest hurdle is that too many leaders dig in their heels and refuse to adapt to the needs and expectations of their millennial employees. They take offense to these "entitled kids" daring to set high standards for their employers. It's a cultural attitude that's pervasive throughout the business world. Just scroll through the comments of any LinkedIn article on millennials in the workplace and you're bound to see heated debates among posters. Many will say things like "adapting to millennials is like the tail wagging the dog." That's a very dangerous position because they run the risk of disengaging their Millennials. Organizations today can engage millennials by simply asking them what they want and then make changes to address their needs and expectations. On average, Millennials seek frequent feedback, professional development opportunities, flexible and interesting work, and integrated technology. 

Lisa Morris (Employer Brand Strategy | Employee Experience at North Highland)

Companies are challenged with engaging all generations just as they seem to be with Millennials. The challenge comes down to employees wanting a work experience that is valuable and meaningful to them as individuals. Organizations on the other hand are focused on efficiency and effectiveness for the most part, not necessarily on providing an experience that connects with employees on an intellectual, creative, emotional, social and physical level in a sustainable way.

Elaine Sullivan (Employee Engagement Trainer & Enabler at Skybrook Consultants)

Companies are struggling because they haven’t quite understood millennials’ thought processes and values. Millennials seem to have a more egalitarian viewpoint, respecting those senior to them for their knowledge and experience but not necessarily rank, and look to managers and leaders not for answers and direction but for coaching and mentoring. 

Wendy Firlotte (Corporate Sustainability Engagement Specialist at Engage International)

When engaging employees in sustainability, millennials tend to be a particularly active group. This generation is enthusiastic about being innovative and making a difference. A common issue many companies are facing is they fail to gain or maintain their trust. 

The challenge here is leadership tends to waver in their commitment to truly employee-driven initiatives. They like the idea of employees being engaged, but their engagement programs are more focused on awareness raising rather than providing avenues for autonomy and employee ownership over initiatives. When millennials begin to recognize their lessened ability to affect change, they tend to become skeptical and loose interest.

Leah Reynolds (Principal, Employee Engagement & Communication Practice at Buck Consultants)

Millennial disengagement is a result of:

  • Employers who believe that millennials should adapt to the way things are and not expect to be “coddled." 
  • Internally competitive cultures with top down systems.
  • Advancing employees into leadership positions without training or baseline leadership assessment around communication account for both leadership deficits and outmoded culture behavior that turn millennials off. 
  • Poorly trained leaders along with culture conflict and foggy career paths lie at the core. These are all measurable activities so correctable.

The solution is an empowerment-based work culture with clear norms of behavior that apply to everyone; consistent and helpful feedback and learning about employees beyond simple job scope is required. This applies to everyone- not just millennials.

Elizabeth Lupfer (Employer Brand Marketing at Reynolds American, Inc.)

Companies should take time to 

  • Understand the needs of millennials and determine which attributes in their value proposition are most appealing (e.g., flexible work, career mobility and purposeful work). 
  • Identify attributes that they possess now or plan to have in the near future. 
  • Develop an employer brand based on their employee value proposition. An employer brand is communicates your reputation as an employer of choice. 75% of candidates consider an employer's brand before even applying for a job (2015 Employer Brand Study, CareerArc).
  • Offer career longevity that is inspired by the generation of workers that already exist within your company.

Ketti Salemme (Senior Communication Manager at TINYpulse)

Millennials are rejecting traditional rules about career development and work culture. Rather than wait years for a promotion, millennials are looking for fast growth. A Deloitte study found that this generation is 1.5 times more likely than others to focus on short-term opportunities. 

To keep millennials engaged:

  • Offer them perks that resonate. The Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC found that tuition reimbursement was a powerful attraction and retention tool for millennials. 
  • Give them a way to further their professional knowledge through classes, conferences, seminars, etc, is a great way to support this desire to grow professionally and personally.
  • Tear down cubes. Millennials grew up with collaboration and expect that in their workplace. Move to an open floor plan, and encourage face-to-face teamwork as much as you can.
  • Encourage team bonding activities like happy hours, creative work, and internal socializing areas is a great way to bond employees. In our own TINYpulse research, coworkers and peers are the #1 reason why employees feel engaged in their workplace. 

Joe Redmond (Director Learning Development at Tenneco)


  • View management/authority differently and prefer to participate in cross functional teams.
  • Tend to not want "managers" on the teams but rather have everyone working and contributing. 
  • Want to be promoted at an accelerated rate (not satisfied with the traditional 3-5 years approach), so focus on non-promotional development through projects that get them involved in experiential learning and development.

Alim Erginoglu (Consultant - Employee Engagement at Towers Watson)

Successful companies are connecting with their millennials not only during working hours- but outside of work as well. Millennials see work not only as a place to go and earn money, but a place to socialize, innovate, learn and enjoy. They amalgamate their life with work and as long as they can do that they feel engaged. Work does not limit their life but is a part of it.

Scott Simmerman Ph.D (Designer of Team Building and Engagement Tools)

“Nobody ever washes a rental car.” Millennials, and everyone else, should operate in an environment where they feel a strong sense of ownership and involvement. Yesterday’s workplace showed that many felt their bosses did not listen to them. That same statistic holds true 40 years later and might be more un-engaging today with the values that millennials show toward idealism and flexibility. Millennials are ready to leave if they feel their employer is not supporting their values and goals.

Carrie Zeigler (Human Resources Business Partner at Nielsen)

The problem is businesses put so much thought into engaging millennials the wrong way. Millennials are smart, ambitious and often don't have much holding them down, like a family, or mortgage, so they can move anywhere when a better opportunity arises. The key is to treat millennials like they are the intelligent employees that they are, even when they are in entry level positions. Companies should be willing to listen to their fresh perspective and trust them with large projects as they are working to prove themselves. They should also keep communication open and offer millennials career mapping, as they are constantly looking to grow and move into new positions: they won’t be happy staying in the same position for too long. And if they are talented, they will find opportunity. Shouldn't that opportunity be with you? 


You can start being a leader that truly inspires and engages your millennials by creating an empowerment-based work culture: trade your boss hat for your coach/mentor hat. Check-in with your team daily and provide them with feedback that is empowering, helpful and constructive. Find ways to make their work as flexible, meaningful and interesting as possible.

Remember that millennials value leadership and want opportunities to learn and grow. Give them the trust and respect they deserve, and involve them in the decision making process whenever possible. Figure out what motivates them personally, then lead accordingly. Lastly, don't forget to hold your direct reports accountable, always recognize their accomplishments and have them collaborate and involved in team bonding activities as much as possible.

About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli helps Fortune 1000 companies unlock the full promise, energy and creativity of their millennials. Ascanio is an award winning speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Engaging Millennials: How to attract, retain and fully engage the most talented millennials." His company E3 Solutions helps executives improve their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces.

Energy Leadership Workbook

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Ascanio Pignatelli | 0 comments

Energy Leadership Workbook by E3 Solutions

What is Energy Leadership?
Energy LeadershipTM is a leadership perspective developed by iPEC (institute for professional excellence in coaching) that allows people to more effectively inspire, motivate and influence themselves and others. The system is based on the concept that there are two types of energy and seven different levels. As we become aware, and recognize the various energies and levels, we gain a new vantage point that yields a new perspective. Each new perspective brings with it a new possibility, and a new way to respond rather than react to our circumstances.

The Two Types of Energy
The body is an energy system that is self-regulated and thought-affected. Although it seeks to maintain its energy system in the healthy (anabolic) range, negative (catabolic) thoughts release destructive chemicals like cortisol into our bodies that produce undesired physical results that limit our ability to lead and have the success we desire. Just as every individual cell has an energetic force, so too does every thought and action. Some of our thoughts are anabolic; they inspire and motivate us. Others are catabolic and drain the life out of us. Anabolic energy lifts us towards our goals and success. Catabolic energy is akin to gravity that weighs us down. We become stuck and ineffective when our catabolic energy is equal to or greater than our anabolic energy.

Interestingly, most leaders, as well as most organizations, are catabolic; plagued with fear based energy that ultimately breaks them and their organization down. The Energy Leadership Workbook will help you become a better leader by raising your anabolic energy, decreasing your catabolic energy and helping you respond to stress in a far more productive manner.
Although research shows that there are no generally accepted traits that differentiate effective leaders from ineffective ones, there is at least one difference: their level of energy.

In the words of former Director of Clinical Neuropsychological Services at Temple University Hospital, R. K. Ebert, Ph.D.:
“Unmolested, this energy system maintains the body in a condition of maximal health and well- being. Disturbances in this system are brought about by repeated insults, waves of catabolic energy generated by consciousness. Thoughts, beliefs, values, principles, emotions, and behaviors associated with [lower] levels of consciousness are catabolic. Habitual repetition of conscious or unconscious thoughts in this range gradually engender energy disturbances, self perpetuating in nature, which ultimately manifests as disease.

Healing involves a shift in the energy generated by conscious and unconscious processes. This is most efficiently accomplished by neutralizing the energy of “low level” thoughts, by disrupting the catabolic pattern of thought energy. Each thought contributes a specific energy pattern to the energy field of our being. There are no idle thoughts. All thoughts have an energetic consequence. It is only a question of how your thoughts will affect you energetically. Catabolic energy injures, anabolic energy heals.
In this reality every individual possesses a characteristic Level of Consciousness that frames, or limits, both the perception of, and the response to, external reality.”

The Four Energy Blocks

As you raise your level of energy new perspectives and choices will become available to you. At times the choices you make will limit your capability. Other times, you won’t even know you had a choice. In both circumstances, one of the four blocks (LIAR: Limiting beliefs, Interpretations, Assumptions and the Rogue inner critic) is holding you back and limiting you.

Before we begin, list three things that you want to achieve, either externally (an outer goal) or internally (personal development/inner goal) but haven’t been able to yet.

Energy Block #1: Limiting Beliefs

Henry Ford once said: “Believe you can, or believe you can't. Either way you are right.” He was correct: if you believe that the outcome you're looking for is highly improbable, you either won’t attempt it, or if you do you’ll invest very little energy into achieving that goal.

Below are some examples of limiting beliefs:
Leaders are born, not made.
You can’t have a job and be a good mother at the same time.
You're either born with creativity or you're not.
There’s no place for emotion’s at the workplace.

Below please list some beliefs that you have that might be limiting you in some way:

Challenging Limiting Beliefs
Use the following exercise to help you overcome any belief that might be limiting you. On a separate sheet of paper:
Write down a belief that is limiting you.

On the left side of the paper have a column that reads: Proof that the belief is TRUE. On the right side of the paper place a column that reads: Proof that the belief is FALSE. Fill both columns and analyze your findings.

Below that write down where this belief come from?
Now below you'll want to write down exactly how this belief is limiting you, and the effect it’s had on your life.

Below that write down a new belief to replace your limiting one?
Now look at the TRUE column and challenge each thing you wrote by asking “How true is that really?”

Now write down a new, more empowering belief. Support it with new anecdotes, or evidence.

Visualize yourself adopting and believing this new idea. How does it feel? What might you now be able to accomplish?

Energy Block #2: Interpretations
An interpretation is the meaning, or story, we attach to people, events, or experiences. Most times we are not even aware that we have such an interpretation, believing in fact that the story is true, when in fact it's just one of countless possible perspectives. Once we become aware of our interpretations, we can then change focus, raise our energy and discover new possibilities.

What are some of the stories you’ve made up to explain the events or people in your life? How are those interpretations impacting you and those around you?

Challenging Interpretations
Just realizing that there are other perspectives can lessen the limitations your interpretations have on you. There are many ways to challenge interpretations including the following:

  • What’s another way to look at that?
  • How would someone who could easily accomplish the task you find challenging see your situation?
  • What would an opposite point of view about the person or situation you are struggle with be?

Now look at your “Things I Haven’t Achieved Yet” entry above. See which of the items you listed might be due to interpretations you’ve made, then use the questions above to challenge your interpretations. Which experiences from your past are the one’s you find most catabolic? What was the meaning or story you gave it? What is a new or opposite perspective?

Energy Block #3: Assumptions
Assumptions are beliefs that since something happened in the past, it will repeat itself in the future. Because assumptions are based on our personal experiences, they have more catabolic energy associated with them than either interpretations or limiting beliefs.

The assumptions we have often come from personal experiences filled with pain and/or failure. They hold us back because we avoid situations that we think are painful or will result in failure. For example, if you once had an awful experience giving an important presentation it would be completely normal to not want to ever give another presentation.

What is a catabolic experience from your past that you think might be repeated in the future?

Challenging Assumptions
Because assumptions are more personal, and consequently more emotional, they are more difficult to challenge. When challenging an assumption simply ask “Just because that happened in the past, why must it happen again now?” You could also look to a similar, yet successful, past situation and ask yourself:

  • What worked well then?
  • How did my strengths help me succeed then?
  • How can I take my strengths and apply them to my current situation?
  • Which items on your list above might be a result of an assumption? Use the above process to challenge them.

Energy Block #4: Rogue Inner Critic
Do you ever hear a little voice inside your head that says, “This isn't going to work,” or “I'm not good enough, smart enough, or experienced enough?” Say hello to your rogue inner critic. That little voice wants us to always play small and play it safe, and when it speaks it’s very hard not to listen. Your inner critic is so personal that it often doesn't even sound like a voice, It's just there in the background. That voice is very limiting which means that too often we won’t ask for that raise, or try that new challenge because we think were not good enough or experienced enough to accomplish it.

Some typical gremlin statements are:

  • I feel like I am impostor.
  • I don’t deserve to be truly happy.
  • I’m not that smart.
  • I'm not cut out for this.
  • I don’t deserve real success.
  • What does your inner critic keep telling you?

Challenging your Rogue Inner Critic
The first step in dealing with your rogue inner critic is to acknowledge its presence. Then you will want to listen to exactly what it's saying. Keep in mind your inner critic is a coping mechanism that was created a long time ago to avoid pain. When it appears next say “Thank you for your support, but I can handle it from here.” Or, “Whatever, now watch this!” and prove it wrong (Especially effective if you answered completely true to the ELI Assessment question “Being right is important to me.”) Now looking back to the section where you listed three areas that you haven't had success in yet: which were a result of listening to your rogue inner critic’s commentary?

7 Perspectives - 7 Choices
Imagine you wake up one day to discover that you are living in a home that is seven stories tall, with wrap-around balconies on each floor. As you ascend your home you find that each story has a different view of the surrounding neighborhood. Every balcony gives you a unique perspective and a new choice that allows you to respond in a way that you might not have previously considered. The higher you rise, the more expansive the views- and the more you're able to tap into all of your energy. For example, from the third floor you have three views and three different choices, but from the seventh floor you now have seven unique options from which to choose.

We all live in these seven-story buildings, but few of us ever venture off the first few floors. This limits our potential since the first few floors are catabolic (draining and destructive). Living on the bottom levels means we tend to react to our circumstances, not realizing we have other options available to us. Each higher perspective gives us increasing power and freedom and new ways to respond to any given situation. The workbook is designed to help you view the world from each of these seven stories, so you can lead more effectively by consciously choosing the most advantageous approach.

The Importance of Raising Energy
Your level of energy determines your success. The more energy you have, the more successful you’ll be. The greater your ability to raise the energy levels of those around you (and get their Buy In) the more effective you will be leading others.

Studies prove that higher Average Resonating Levels of energy are associated with higher levels of satisfaction in all areas of your life: leadership, finances, relationships, personal development, achievement, etc. Your current overall energy (or state of consciousness, awareness or engagement) consists of every thought, feeling, and emotion you’ve had up to the present moment. Each of these experiences are like tiny filters that form the lens through which you view, interpret and experience your world. That lens is your perspective, and it determines how readily you are able to tap your full potential. Most lenses are clouded with filters that limit our potential, however continuous awareness eventually brings increased power and freedom.

The Energetic Self-Perception Chart can help remind you of your seven story home, and the seven ways to respond to any circumstance. Your ability to navigate your this home dictates how you perceive yourself, your circumstances and those around you. It also determines how effective you are as a leader. Your thoughts determine your feelings and emotions, which in turn shape your actions. You create your world based on how you think and feel about yourself and those around you.

Raising Energy in Others
Empowering questions are one of the most effective tools coaches or leaders can use to raise the energy levels of others. Listed below are several questions you can use whenever you need to shift others out of catabolic thinking:

  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What have you learnt from that?
  • What makes this important to you?
  • How has it worked for you?
  • What can you take away from that experience?
  • What other options do you see?
  • What else can you try?
  • What’s another way of looking at that?
  • What is your plan going forward?
  • How can I support you?

Understanding the Energy Levels
For the energy levels that we are about to review, identify which levels are negatively or positively influencing various aspects of your life, and particularly how those levels relate to your leadership ability. The Energetic Self-Perception Chart presents a visual of the seven different levels.

For each of the energy levels, there are certain core thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives that are associated with it. For a consistent example throughout the 7 levels, the various perspectives of the phrase “An eye for an eye,” is included. Left alone, this phrase has no meaning until we interpret it. Our interpretations come from our level of consciousness, which not only determines how we interpret this phrase, but also, how we view and interpret our entire world. These interpretations create our mindset.

  • Level 1 Energy
  • Role: The Victim
  • Frame of Reference: I lose
  • Level 1 perspective on the phrase: An eye for an eye is: I lost an eye, woe is me.
  • Root of Level 1 Energy: worry, doubt, fear, regret, anxiety, guilt, low self-esteem.
  • Some core thoughts:
  • I hate myself; I’m a loser; life is unfair; life is purposeless; life sucks; nobody loves me; it’s just one humiliation after another; everything always ends in failure; I am worthless; I am powerless; no one listens or cares about me; I’m not capable; I can’t make a difference; I’m irrelevant; there’s nothing I can do abut it; I’m a bad person; I’ve done a lot of bad things; life is sad and full of pain and suffering; I should have known and done better; there is no hope for me or anyone else; I should never have done that; I regret that.

Characteristics of Level 1 Leaders
Level 1 is the lowest level of energy and is extremely catabolic and draining. When we're at this level it feels that life is happening to us, and we have no control. This is a painful place, so we seek to avoid the pain and disengage. Those who are depressed and plagued with level one energy have very little motivation, stop caring, and avoid putting any effort into what they are doing. They feel like they are at the effect of life, not the cause and are therefore unable to create the success they desire.

When we operate from a Level 1 perspective, we feel as though we have no choice or options. At this level we feel trapped by our circumstances. Level 1 energy usually results in avoiding difficult people, situations or issues. From our ground-floor vantage point we have trouble making decisions because we feel helpless in making a difference. At this Level it feels like the life is being sucked out of us.

Leaders at Level 1 work in crisis mode; putting out fires and dealing with problems, because that’s all they see. Since all they do is react to crises, they have no real plan for where they’re doing. When a person’s consciousness resonates with problems, they become focused on what they don’t want. Our mindset offers us a choice to see anything we want; we can see the glass as half full or half empty- both await our gaze, but at Level 1, we don’t see the water or the solution, only what’s missing, and the problems that stem from a victim mentality.

On the ground-floor, Level 1 leaders have little to no passion or commitment to anything. They are part of the 87% of the disengaged workforce and contribute little to the organizations they work for. Generally, their communication skills are poor and their ability to truly engage, inspire and motivate others is nonexistent. Leaders at this level tend to be numb. They might feel emotion but are too scared to show it; victim to the limiting belief that emotions make them look weak, when in fact two traits of great leaders are vulnerability and authenticity. (On an intuitive level, when we don’t see emotion in others we typically see them as weak and untrustworthy.)
Finally, Level 1 leaders tend to blame themselves for anything negative that has happened in the past. They continually focus on that past, uncertain of the choices they have made or wishing they had acted differently. They almost always have low self-esteem and are consistently in survival mode, quick to beat themselves up with any setback. Those who resonate at this level lack confidence and are less productive than they could be. They seldom recognize their own power in a given situation and almost never take responsibility for the challenges they encounter. With time, their negativity, lack of confidence, and inability to effect change can drain everyone else’s energy.

Advantages of Level 1 Energy:

  • Able to protect themselves from harm.
  • Receive attention and sympathy from others.
  • Don’t have to assume responsibility for anything.
  • Disadvantages of Level 1 Energy:
  • Little to no engagement.
  • Inability to effect change and improve life circumstances.
  • Incapable of leading themselves or others.
  • Eliminating Level 1 Energy

List any areas of your life that you tend to avoid or feel out of your control. Where do you feel guilty, lethargic or apathetic?

Write down the areas of your life where guilt, avoidance or regret are holding you back. What are some ways you can get rid of these energy blocks?

Characteristics of Organizations, Teams or Families With Level 1 Energy
Groups with an Average Resonating Level of 1 spiral downward into crisis and dissolution and eventually implode. Individuals on these teams usually only focus on their individual needs, like safety and survival, and not on the needs of the group. Many organizations are rife with level 1 energy; their departments compete, rather than collaborate with each other.

Removing Level 1 Group Energy
List any Level 1 thoughts, emotions, or inaction at home or at the office.

What is the impact Level 1 energy is having on you and your leadership?

Level 2 Energy
  • Role: The Fighter
  • Frame of Reference: You lose
  • Level 2 perspective on the phrase: An eye for an eye is: You took my eye, I’ll take yours.
  • Root of Level 2 Energy: anger.
  • Some core thoughts at Level 2:
  • I hate; God is judgmental; life is hard; it’s one fight after another; there are threats everywhere; try it, but don’t expect any help; you either win or lose; I must protect myself; it’s a dog-eat-dog world; no one cares about me; I must control all aspects of my life; only the lucky are successful; I must save face at all costs; I will not forgive myself or you; people only listen to me if they can benefit from me; it’s an angry world; all good things in life are bad for you; life is disappointing; if you screw with me, you’re going to hear about it; you need to be punished for taking advantage of me; I hate this and I hate that; if you push me one more time, I’ll explode; yeah, I smoke, so what, I need it to relax; my worth is based on what I’ve achieved; there’s just not enough to go around; there are only winners and losers; things are either black or white; I’ll forgive you if you earn it (but I won’t let it go); no-one meets my expectations; I am better than you; the world is morally corrupt; my actions are justified; it’s your fault; etc.

Characteristics of Level 2 Leaders
Generally, Level 2 leaders are the bossy, condescending, command and control managers that don’t really trust their colleagues and rarely listen to other people’s suggestions. Typically, they are very defensive and always need to be right. They put their needs before others and seldom give credit to anyone else. They can actually be highly energetic, however, most of this energy comes from a very toxic and destructive emotion: anger.
Level 2 leaders are often forceful, aggressive and prone to using various forms of intimidation to get what they want. At Level 2 they typically focus on problems, mistakes and what everyone else is doing wrong. These leaders are extremely judgmental and have a lot of internal conflict. They are the authoritarian, helicopter bosses that believe they need to micro manage others if they want things done right. Unfortunately, this style triggers people’s inner critic—that they aren’t good enough.  

Advantages of this level of energy for leaders

  • Can accomplish a lot
  • Can use aggression, fear, or force to motivate others
  • Disadvantages of this level of energy for leaders
  • Fearful colleagues eventually disengage and avoid all contact with these leaders rendering them ineffectual.
  • Longterm employee disengagement eventually leads to
  • Increased labor turnover, absenteeism, theft, spoilage, wastage, and costs.
  • Decreased productivity, motivation, profitability and innovation.
  • Threat of force prevents any buy-in.

Removing Level 2 Leader Energy
When do you find yourself controlling, judgmental or aggressive?

Characteristics of Businesses, Teams or Families With Level 2 Energy
Organizations with a lot of level two energy are usually chaotic and in complete disarray. Their shortsightedness and focus on survival limits any real opportunities for future growth. Companies at this level force their employees to take on more work than they can handle. They are reluctant to share information, or reasons for their decisions and actions. Their mantra is “comply or die, win at all costs, and take no prisoners.”

Removing Level 2 Group Energy
List where Level 2 thinking, emotions, or actions are present in one of your organizations:

How is this impacting your work?

What would be the benefits of removing Level 2 energy from all aspects of your life and work?

How can you start to eliminate any anger or conflict from your life?

Level 3 Energy


  • Role: The Rationalizer
  • Frame of Reference: I win (and if you win too, great)
  • Level 3 perspective on the phrase: An eye for an eye is: You took my eye, I’ll forgive you because you don’t know any better.
  • Core thoughts at Level 3:
  • I forgive you; We have free will; life is what you make it; you can create a purpose and live it with the right connections; I will overcome each hurdle; have a good plan but do it only if you’re sure it will work; everyone is different, and that’s OK; what I can’t see can’t hurt me; I am in control of my life and know how to “play the game”; I’m sure I can convince them to see it my way (persuades); my view of life and those in it are completely up to me; people are generally good, they just don’t know better; the past is not important; I can do better; better to lie and avoid, than to face conflict; etc.

Characteristics of Level 3 Leaders
Leaders at Level 3 resonate with anabolic energy. They are positive and productive—living in the world of solutions instead of problems. So regardless of what personality or style any particular leader may have, the key component to success is attitude.

Leaders who resonate at Level 3 handle people and situations much differently than their catabolic colleagues. Instead of being caught up in reacting to emotions, these leaders know how to work with emotions to manage them within themselves and others. When a crisis or challenge arises, they’ll move to resolve it confidently and tactfully, responding with logic, instead of reacting with emotion.

Advantages of this level of energy for leaders

  • They don’t allow other people to stand in the way of what they want.
  • They are able to avoid, block, and/or release negativity of others.
  • They are able to engage others with promises and hopes.
  • Disadvantages of this level of energy for leaders
  • Sometimes manipulative, self-concerning.
  • Hopes and promises are not given from the heart, but from the head.
  • Not concerned if things don’t work out because they “did their best.”

List any Level 3 thinking, emotions, or actions that you display in your life.

People who resonate around Level 3 are valuable to an organization. They are good teammates and are very interested in taking the responsibility to get things done.

Characteristics of Businesses, Groups, Teams or Families With Level 3 Energy
Level 3 groups attempt to utilize, instead of “use” their members. Level 3 groups always look for ways to incorporate the talents of each of its members with the needs of the group as a whole. In families, the "rules" consider the needs of the children as well as the parents. Communication isn't optimal but it is clear and understood that "those in charge" are available should the need arise.

Overall, the sentiment in this kind of group is calm and peaceful, with a focus on meeting short-term goals.

Think of your teams and list areas where you find yourself coping, rationalizing, or tolerating:

How is that helping or hindering you and/or the team?

What benefits would you get from being free of that?

What areas of your life could you start taking full ownership of? _____________________________________________________________________________________

Level 4 Energy


  • Role: The Caregiver
  • Frame of Reference: You win
  • Level 4 perspective on the phrase: An eye for an eye is: You took my eye, I feel sorry for you to be that hateful.
  • Other core thoughts at Level 4:
  • I love you (conditionally); how can I help you?; God offers us chances to serve others, and nothing feels better than doing so; our purpose is to give and help; you can value your life by what you do for humanity; your purpose is to make the world a better place; help, heal, fix; that’s really about you, not about me; all plans and goals work out if you have faith; we can work this out; there’s no need to control anything, but I do like it when I feel my life works; there’s always something I can do to be a better person (or employee, or mother, or boss, etc.); the world is a good place, filled with many people who are in pain; the past doesn’t matter, let’s live and love, now; I always strive to do better for everyone involved in my life; etc.

Characteristics of Level 4 Leaders
People who lead with Level 4 energy form deep connections with others. People around them respect them and see them as trustworthy. They’re also markedly loyal. In fact, for example they’ll go to bat for those who work for them as if their employees were family.

Level 4 is the one at which we connect with our hearts. This means that, while leaders at Level 3 incorporate mostly logical analysis to make decisions, leaders at Level 4 include emotional intelligence. They’re concerned about how their decisions and actions will affect not only themselves, but also those they come in contact with on a personal level. Level 4 embraces a “feminine” approach to leading, incorporating a more nurturing method of communicating. For example, while the traditional masculine approach to someone we believe is mistaken might be to say, “You’re wrong in your thinking,” the feminine approach might instead ask a question, such as, "What's another way of looking at this?” Since the second approach doesn’t aggressively challenge the other person, the individual is less likely to respond defensively.

The kind of leadership we’re addressing enables us to effectively engage others. In any hierarchical relationship, leaders are most effective when they don’t abuse their authority, and when they consider people’s feelings before they act. It’s vital to remember that everyone we deal with are people, not robots.

Advantages of this level of energy for leaders

  • Takes little personally.
  • Truly cares for and helps everyone to function the best they can.
  • Disadvantages of this level of energy for leaders
  • Can get caught in the drama/sympathetic;
  • Motivation is sometimes more for being liked than for being productive.
  • Can lead to burnout.

List where concern, compassion or service is present in your life:

Others with this Level of Energy
People who resonate around Level 4 are usually the heart and soul of a family/group. They support all those they come in contact with.
Characteristics of Businesses, Groups, Teams or Families With Level 4 Energy
Groups at this level no longer see the world as a “dog-eat-dog” environment. The need to compete with others lessens as everyone understands what true abundance involves, and as groups, they come to see people as unique. As these new realizations dawn, people shift into seeing a world that allows individuals to share their gifts in way that genuinely enhance the destiny of the people around them.

Considering Level 4 Group Energy
List any Level 4 thinking or actions that you would like to have in your family/business:

What Level 4 thoughts or emotions from your past might be impacting your life today?

What would life be like if you were more concerned and compassionate towards others?

Level 5 Energy


  • Role: The Opportunist
  • Frame of Reference: We both win
  • Level 5 perspective on the phrase: An eye for an eye is: You took my eye. Why did this happen to me today? (asked curiously)
  • Other core thoughts at Level 5:
  • I want to understand you; life offers us opportunity after opportunity, you only have to open your eyes to see them; each person has a unique gift and the ability to use that gift to be successful; everything in my life has meaning and purpose, and I want to know what it all means; success comes from within, and is always up to me to feel successful; someone, somewhere, created me and for a reason; our purpose is to find peace and joy; our objective in life is to live it to the fullest and make a difference to as many people as possible—your value (gift) is the way you do that; I only win if you win; I’m always in control of my life and my perspective of it; everything always works out for the best, even if you don’t see it that way at the time; I continually get better and better; the world is a fascinating and wondrous place; etc.

Characteristics of Level 5 Leaders
Leaders at this energy level are powerful, inspiring, and skilled at capitalizing on whatever opportunities present themselves. At such a high level of resonance, by their presence alone, these leaders command greatness from others. They also expect greatness from others and receive it. Leaders at Level 5 see everyone they meet as being gifted and full of potential.

The old adage is true; you do get what you expect. Leaders with a lot of Level 5 energy expect positive attitudes, autonomy as well as teamwork and high performance. Leaders at this level demonstrate what they believe in by telling others exactly what is expected of them, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. These leaders look for opportunities in partnerships and alliances. They’re always thinking about synergy and ways to succeed through their many connections.

Leaders at this level operate with less fear than do people at the levels below, and so, have the willingness to enact radical change when warranted. People who resonate around Level 5 are rare and are a gold mine to you.
Advantages of this level of energy for leaders

  • Finds opportunities in all challenges.
  • Takes little to nothing personally.
  • Disadvantages of this level of energy for leaders
  • Paralysis by analysis.
  • Disengaged from emotions.

List some areas of you life where you show up with Level 5 thinking, emotions, or actions:

Characteristics of Groups, Teams or Businesses With Level 5 Energy
Groups that resonate with Level 5 energy are usually extremely successful (in however that is measured for the group, or family). People have a lot of fun working and living in this kind of environment. Policies and rules reward desirable behaviors.

Level 5 groups believe in investing in others at all levels. These groups are all too aware of the costs of replacing quality people, so they do all they can to retain them by keeping them happy. Group leaders achieve this goal in a number of ways, including training, creating intriguing work and/or partnerships, and encouraging interpersonal relationships and more communication.

Pursuing this approach creates high potential, not only for evolving the best potential group members, but for major growth in the potential of what the group can do synergistically.

Considering Level 5 Organizational Energy
How would more Level 5 Energy improve your relationships, business and life?

List a few win-win opportunities you can now create for your business or your relationships.

How can your Level 5 Energy help you create a new relationship with someone you love that is not as close as you wish?

With a partner share what you think is blocking your entrepreneurial, win-win attitude. How can you add more Level 5 Energy to your business or life?Level

Level 6 Energy

  • Role: The Visionary
  • Frame of Reference: Everyone always wins
  • Level 6 perspective on the phrase: An eye for an eye is: You took my eye -- we both lost an eye.
  • Other core thoughts at Level 6:
  • I am you; life itself is a wonderful opportunity; the purpose of life is to live and experience; I don’t look at things as good or bad, things just are; open your eyes and see the Truth; I is the same as we; we all have a gift, and are a gift; success is remembering who we really are; I’m open to life’s mysteries, nothing needs to be figured out; I live through you and I share my life with you; everything that I do, everyone does; what I have and do is not who I am; there is no need to try to control life; there is power in partnerships—together, we can create miracles; the game of life cannot be won or lost, only played; no matter what appears to be, we always all win; everything is always working out as it happens; I continue to learn more about who we are and what life is about, without trying; I am connected to the source; etc.

Characteristics of Level 6 Leaders
While leaders at this level are highly active and willing to do anything they’d ask anyone else to do, these individuals lead more by presence than by actions. They’re role models that others look up to as wise, kind, and fair. These leaders seem to know all that’s going on in their organizations without having to ask. They have a keen sense of intuition and use it on a regular basis to make decisions and to generate ideas.

Leaders with Level 6 energy are powerful, yet humble. They know their level of excellence and love growing. They listen to feedback from others about how they’re leading and being perceived, and take action, without any ego, to improve. Level 6 Leaders ask questions to learn more about themselves through the eyes of others.

Such leaders share in projects instead of fully delegating them. By participating, the leader demonstrates a real connection to the team and the project.

The main characteristic that separates leaders at Level 6 from others is their ability to see all staff members as equal to each other, and equal to themselves. Instead of believing they’re more gifted than anyone else, leaders at Level 6 recognize that everyone is gifted. Because this is so, they help others realize their true potential, generating in this process a team of genuine and deeply committed partners. This is not to suggest that leaders at Level 6 believe in equal compensation or authority. They understand the nature of supply and demand and realize that people’s specific talents should be compensated accordingly. Yet, they also grasp a vital realization: without others to support them, these leaders themselves would achieve little success. People who resonate around Level 6 are geniuses. They are true visionaries and positively affect everyone around them.

Advantages of this level of energy for leaders

  • Empathetic; they are able to feel and connect without judgment.
  • Highly intuitive.
  • Disadvantages of this level of energy for leaders
  • Might not be grounded, aloof or out of touch with others.
  • Possible high risk takers.

List any Level 6 thinking, emotions, or actions that you have or would like to have in your life:

Characteristics of Businesses, Teams or Families With Level 6 Energy
Level 6 groups create a harmony between a group's goals, the individual members' levels of satisfaction and development, and the group's impact on the world. “Everyone always wins,” is the motto for this level of energy. All policies are derived from this powerful credo.

Teamwork is the key to success at this level of a group's functioning. To generate successful projects, the group is always thinking about how to create teams that utilize each individual’s gifts to the fullest extent possible.
Where does Level 6 thinking, emotions, or actions occur in your groups, family or business?

How would more Level 6 Energy improve your relationships, business or life?

How can you bring more Level 6 Energy to your business or relationships?

Those who learn how to resonate at this level, even for a few moments, have access to Truth, and, in turn, can engage their natural genius ability to consciously create their world. At Level 5, people try to find the silver lining from challenging experiences. At Level 6, they see opportunities in all experiences. At Level 7, people’s creative ability is constant.

At this level, we can use any of the below levels as we choose, create anything we desire, and do that as quickly as we believe possible. At Level 7, we are connected to an intelligence of the highest order. We can create our world as we choose. There is no right and wrong, good or bad, better or worse.
Also at Level 7 energy, time becomes an illusion. This means that, while at lower energy levels we may evidence a limiting belief about how long it may take to get something done, at Level 7 we can move quickly to create what we desire.

Level 7 perspective on the phrase: An eye for an eye is: Nothing actually happens, all of life is an experiential experiment.
Other core thoughts at Level 7:
I AM; the purpose of life is not to be known; there is no good or bad, nor right or wrong; unconditional love is our true nature; I am the writer, producer, playwright, actors and actresses, and the audience; there is only one truth; I am the source; etc.

Level 7 Energy

  • Role: The Creator
  • Frame of Reference: Winning and losing are illusions
  • There are no examples of leaders or groups that have an average resonating energy at Level 7. That’s because they don’t exist. In this state, no words are spoken, no picture can be created, and no examples can be provided. At Level 7, the three-dimensional world that we think we know and see fades into pure energy.
  • At level 7, we can use any of the below levels as we choose, create anything we desire, and do that as quickly as we believe possible.
  • At Level 7, we are connected to an intelligence of the highest order. We can create our world as we choose.
  • Also at Level 7 energy, time becomes an illusion. This means that, while at lower energy levels we may evidence a limiting belief about how long it may take to get something done, at Level 7 we can move quickly to create what we desire.
  • There is no right and wrong, good or bad, better or worse.
  • Level 7 perspective on the phrase: An eye for an eye is: Nothing actually happens, all of life is an experiential experiment.
  • Other core thoughts at Level 7:
  • I AM; the purpose of life is not to be known; there is no good or bad, nor right or wrong; unconditional love is our true nature; I am the writer, producer, playwright, actors and actresses, and the audience; there is only one truth; I am the source; etc.

Where are you most creative?

What are you most passionate about?

When are you least judgmental?

What would having more Level 7 energy in your life allow you to do?

List three ways you can bring more passion, creativity and non-judgment to work.

Communication that Shifts Energy

Listening is the most important aspect of communication. It is through listening that we learn and grow. Listening enables you to shift your energy and to motivate others. It is ironic that while listening is so important, few people do it and fewer do it well.

You can be a powerful force by learning to listen. Listening to others helps us understand their perspective, their concerns, their ideas, and their needs. When leaders first seek to understand, they listen with a “beginners’ mind” and open ears, minds, and hearts. Judgment is suspended, filters are gone, and the leader is present only in the moment. The leader is excited about what he/she is about to learn and knows that through truly listening they are operating at their highest level of energy and are creating success and opportunity.

Listening to yourself -- that is, your true self -- is also important. It brings a level of awareness that enables you to raise your energy level. By listening to your true self, you can separate that voice from those other voices which tell you “it can’t be done” or “you are not good enough.” When you connect to your true self, you eliminate the lesser energy voices and tap into your greatest potential.

Barriers Activity
It is ironic that while listening is so critical, few people do it, and fewer people do it well. Let’s examine what obstacles and opportunities exist for you to listen effectively to yourself and others.

Business practitioners report top listening barriers as 1) environmental distractions like phones ringing or others talking, 2) personal and internal distractions like hunger, headache or preoccupation with something else, and 3) “rebuttal tendency,” – developing a counter argument while the speaker is still speaking (Watson & Smeltzer, 1984, Barriers to listening: comparison between students and practitioners. Communication Research Reports, 1, 82-87).

Additionally, many individuals get stuck in their own heads trying to think of what they will say or ask next, disconnecting them from what the other person is actually saying. Finally, disinterest and lack of trust in others – and mostly in ourselves – can often be at the heart of our ‘inability’ to focus.

As you can see, any number and combination of words, situations, preconceived notions, specific people, physical stress, excitement, lack of trust (in others or ourselves), and fears are some of the things that get in our way of listening well.

Make note of your obstacles to effective listening, below:

Look back at your Energy Leadership Index report. Consider: How might your overall energetic profile and energetic stress reaction help or hinder you as a listener?

With your coach, list three ways to remove any blocks or obstacles to your listening.

Listening Opportunity

Consider: How might you maximize the opportunity presented by what enables your listening?

Consider: How might listening to your true self help you raise your energy level?

Three Levels of Listening
There are three levels of listening. The deepest level, empathetic listening, is at the heart of being a great leader. Through this deep level of listening, leaders hear what is most important to all the individuals in their work and personal lives. The leader understands that people reveal themselves through conversation. Learning to listen at a deep level enables the leader to not only hear what is spoken, but also, to hear between the words to sense the energy behind them. With this knowledge and awareness, the leader is able to connect with the speaker, engage with him, shift his energy, and inspire him to success.

Having someone really listen to what you are saying is a profound experience. It is in these moments of true listening where rapport is built, trust is established, buy-in is enabled, conflict is resolved, and real potential for success is created.

Disengaged Listening
In this level, listening is based on the agenda or needs of the listener. Whatever is said is heard through the experiences of the listener and/or how it relates to the listener. It rarely satisfies the person who is speaking. Everyday listening is usually disengaged. This level of listening is used by people who control and don’t really listen.

Speaker: The kids were fighting all day.
Disengaged response: Yeah, my day at the office was no picnic either.
Engaged Listening

At this level, the listener is completely focused on the person who is speaking. There are no thoughts about how any of the information relates personally to the listener. This level is very effective, but does not get to the “heart” of the matter. Still, listening at this level will dramatically improve communication.

Speaker: The kids were fighting all day.
Engaged response: It's rough when they're at each other all the time.
Empathetic Listening

At this level, the listener is hearing all sensory components and intuitively connecting to the speaker’s real message. The listener is paying attention to not only what the speaker is saying, but also to the speaker’s tone of voice, energy level, feelings, etc. The listener is also paying attention to what’s NOT being said. Empathetic listening is hearing “between the lines” and tuning into what is really being said. It is the most powerful form of listening and allows the listener to really connect with the speaker.

Speaker: The kids were fighting all day.
Empathetic response: It sounds like you are pretty exhausted and frustrated and could use some time just for yourself.

In your life, you will listen at all three levels. It is inevitable; you’re human. But by becoming more aware of your level of listening, you can take steps to move yourself to the deepest level of listening.

In the space provided, consider how you feel your overall energy level facilitates disengaged listening (the first level), as well as how your level might block disengaged listening.

How My Energy Helps and Blocks Engaged Listening
In the space provided, consider how you feel your overall energy level facilitates engaged listening (the second level), as well as how your level might block engaged listening.

How My Energy Helps and Blocks Empathetic Listening
In the space provided, consider how you feel your overall energy level facilitates empathetic listening (the third level), as well as how your level might block empathetic listening.

Effective listening builds rapport, enables buy-in, and helps to resolve conflict. By listening at the highest level possible, you will be able to better understand your colleagues, tailor your message, shift energy upward, and get results.


About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli helps Fortune 1000 companies unlock the full promise, energy and creativity of their millennials. Ascanio is an award winning speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Engaging Millennials.” His company E3 Solutions helps executives improve their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces.

How to Ensure Your Millennials are Super Engaged

Posted on August 07, 2016 by Ascanio Pignatelli | 0 comments

The 5 Keys to Employee Engagement 

How is it that some of the most successful companies in the world still have their heads stuck in the sand when it comes to employee engagement? Please tell me: 

As a leader, is there anything more important than ensuring your employees are completely engaged?  

Hopefully, if you're in management, you're on my wave and the answer's "HELL  NO!" If not I suggest you leave me a comment why and quickly grab your fire-retardant suit.

So how can we as leaders fully harness the insane potential that our young millennial employees are ready to unleash- given the right conditions?

I recommend you focus on the same 5 things that have kept me super engaged during my 16 years rock climbing: 


Communication consistently ranks as the most important of the leadership traits, yet it is also the one most lacking in management today. The way millennials communicate is instantaneous and they expect, and need, clear communication and immediate feedback. 

However, according to a recent Gallup report

Managers aren't providing the feedback millennials want or need.

Only 21% of millennials meet with their manager on a weekly basis. Managers that meet with their direct reports on a consistent basis see engagement scores more than double (44% as opposed to 20%). 

Check-in with your millennials at least once a day. 

They also need to know what their work priorities are and why it's important for them to see the big picture. Don't ever assume they know why- and don't worry about being too communicative! 

Remember, the quality and frequency of your communication with your young workers will determine the quality of that relationship, as well as their level of engagement and performance!  


Millennials are connected to everything and everyone. They want, and expect, their boss to be more than a delegator of orders! Remember 1 out of 2 employees will leave their job because of a lousy boss- one they didn't feel any connection to. Not to mention that leaders with strong personal ties to their direct reports have employees with far higher engagement rates than those that don’t.

To connect with your millennials, create greater trust and loyalty by being more authentic. 

Great leaders don’t fret over public opinion and neither should you. Let go of who you think you should be, and just be yourself. You will gain their trust and respect in the process. 

Be vulnerable. 

Show them the real you. We all have the same fears of not being good enough, smart enough or worthy enough, so why pretend we are the exception?

Focus on your social and emotional intelligence. 

How are you coming across? Are you seeing yourself in their shoes? What are they feeling? Really listen to them, focusing on their tone, their body language, and what's not being said as much as what is.

The best managers connect deeply with their employees by paying attention to what’s important to them. 

Carve out some time each week to grab lunch or a coffee with your key team members. Find out what they enjoy doing outside of work and get to know them personally. 

Let them know that you and the company care for them. 

As their need to belong is met, they will give more of themselves, which, in turn, fuels their next need: their need to contribute.


We all want to be doing something significant with our lives and have those efforts recognized. According to Gallup's latest report on millennials:

Young employees find purpose to be more important than paycheck. 

If your millennials have no idea how their work makes a difference than you'll probably be looking for their replacement in the very near future. In fact, studies show that:

Employees are happiest when they know they are making a difference and helping others.

However, their contribution often goes unnoticed. This can quickly lead to resentment and disengagement- don't forget that for the last twenty years we've been rewarding their twelfth place finishes so:

Recognize and publicly celebrate their accomplishments whenever possible 


Self-direction is key to performance, creativity and engagement. Employees are far more loyal and productive in workplace environments that respect their freedom and encourage their self-expression. Millennials get this better than the rest of us yet we are still stifling their creativity doing things the same old way.

To ensure they feel a sense of autonomy:

Remind your employees that everything they do is their choice. 

Choice is power, and when your junior workers believe they have a choice they will become more engaged in the process. Align their choices with their values, not their fears. When we choose from fear, our actions lack power. When we choose from our values our actions have more power, more meaning and more energy.

Give your employees more flexibility to accommodate their schedules. Who works 9-5 anymore?

Decentralize whatever authority you can so your workers have more decision-making power. This will empower them and make your company much more efficient. 


If your millennials feel they aren't making progress in their personal and/or professional development they will soon become disconnected and seek opportunities elsewhere. 

Ensure that each employee is constantly challenged so that they can grow. 

Talk to your millennials about their career path and provide ways they can develop their leadership skills. More than six in ten millennials (63 percent) say their “leadership skills are not being fully developed” according to a report by Deloitte

If your company doesn't have onsite leadership development opportunities then give your team the chance to attend conferences or workshops that will help them develop the necessary skills to advance in their careers. You could also encourage them to attend a local Toastmasters club- or better yet- start one at your company.

You can also help your millennials grow and build confidence by ensuring they are concentrating on their unique strengths and capabilities: 

Focusing on their weaknesses is the quickest way to disengagement land.

Another way to promote growth is through modeling. Have inexperienced employees watch other colleagues with similar skills perform more advanced tasks. Seeing others with similar abilities succeed at a task will help them develop positive, “can-do” beliefs.

Finally, optimize the environment. Create a vibrant, energetic, stress-free workplace that encourages your employees to get the food, exercise, rest and water their bodies need so they can perform at their best. 


The most engaging leaders are unleashing the full power and creative energy of their millennials by focusing on these five areas: communication, connection, contribution, freedom and growth. They know that what really motivates the new generation – once their basic financial needs have been met – is their desire to learn, grow and develop as leaders, connect and collaborate with others and contribute meaningful work.

About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli helps Fortune 1000 companies unlock the full promise, energy and creativity of their millennials. Ascanio is an award winning speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Engaging Millennials.” His company E3 Solutions helps executives improve their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces.

15 Facts About Millennials You Should Know

Posted on August 07, 2016 by Ascanio Pignatelli | 0 comments

Fact 1: Millennials as a Generation

Millennials are the largest (73,000,000) and most diverse generation ever. In 2013, they became the largest generation in the United States, making up about one-third of the total population. 15 percent were born in a foreign country almost as high as the peak of nearly 20 percent in 1910. 

Fact 2: Millennials and Technology

Over the last few hundred years each generation has experienced technological marvels that their grandparents couldn’t have dreamt of, but one thing sets Millennials apart from previous generations- they believe they are more connected to technology than previous generations. In fact, one out of four millennials believes their relationship with technology differentiates them from other generations. 

Fact 3: Millennials and What They Want

Millennials are big on having a purpose, growing (personally and professionally) and making a difference in the world. They want to have work that is challenging, creative and flexible, be close to their friends and family and have plenty of recreational time.

Fact 4: Millennials and Education

Among 18 to 34 year-olds, college enrollment rose 27 percent from 15 percent in 1995 to 19 percent in 2010. Enrollment for Graduate school has increased 35 percent; jumping from 2.8 percent in 1995 to 3.8 percent in 2010.

Fact 5: Millennials and Their Studies

Millennials are less likely than previous generations to major in areas like business and health, and more likely to study subjects that are “career specific” and don’t fit into traditional liberal arts curricula, like communications, criminal justice, and library science.

Fact 6: Millennials and College Debt

As college enrollments grow, more students rely on loans to pay for post-secondary education. In 2014 total student debt surpassed $1 trillion making it the second largest source of household debt.

Fact 7: Millennials and Their Focus

Millennials are more likely to focus exclusively on studies or work. Millennials have been less likely to work while enrolled in high school, perhaps aware of the diminished returns to working during their high school years.

Fact 8: Millennials and Health Insurance

Millennials are much more likely to have health insurance during their young adult years. Millennials today have better health insurance options than their predecessors, and as real health benefit costs continue to fall, (averaging just 1.1 percent over the last two years, and about 80 percent lower than the previous average), real wages and salaries for Millennials will continue to rise.

Fact 9: Millennials and “The Great Recession”

Millennials started their careers during “The Great Recession”. Research has found that macroeconomic conditions in childhood and young adulthood are important determinants for future earnings and financial behavior: The Great Recession will likely impact Millennials’ spending and saving habits, as well as their ability to earn. However, research also shows that perhaps the single most important determinant of a person’s income is their level of education.  

Fact 10: Millennials and Their ROI from Education

Investments in human capital are likely to have a substantial payoff for Millennials. As the relative dividends from education keep rising, college educated Millennials will have incomes that keep outperforming those without higher degrees, for years to come. 

Fact 11: Millennials and Work Commitment

Millennials are staying with their early-career employers longer than Gen Xers. Unfairly characterized as being uncommitted, Millennials are staying longer with their employers than Generation X workers did at the same age. While this offers Millennials job security, more learning on the job, and greater productivity, in the past switching jobs has meant higher wages for young workers.

Fact 12: Millennials and Gender Equality

Millennial women have more labor market equality than previous generations. They are outpacing men in terms of educational attainment- completing both four-year college degrees and attending post-college. The disparity in early career earnings and employment rates with their male peers are considerably closer than any previous generation.

Fact 13: Millennials and Marriage

Millennials tend to get married later than previous generations. The median age at which men and women have married has been rising steadily since 1950, and Millennials have continued the tradition of marrying later in life with more of them remaining unmarried in their 20s. Interestingly though, unlike previous generations, Millennials with college educations are more likely than the rest of their peers to be married.

Fact 14: Millennials and Homeownership

Millennials are less likely to be homeowners than young adults in previous generations. 

5 factors appear to be at play:

  • Challenges in the labor market for Millennials due to The Great Recession
  • Millennials’ stronger relationship with their parents
  • Increased college enrollment
  • Delayed marriage
  • Today’s tight lending environment

Fact 15: Millennials and Migration

College-educated Millennials have moved into urban areas faster than their less educated peers. In 1980, 67 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds with a college education were living in large or mid-sized cities; in 2011 it was 73 percent. College-educated Millennials are also more likely to be living in a coastal city, reversing the general trend in America. 

What facts did I miss? Please comment below. Thank you.

About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli helps Fortune 1000 companies unlock the full promise, energy and creativity of their millennials. Ascanio is an award winning speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Engaging Millennials.” His company E3 Solutions helps executives improve their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. Call Ascanio now to book your complimentary strategy session at 310.913.2313.

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