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Leadership: 5 Simple Steps to an Engaged Team

Regular contributor Karen Schmidt offers ways to re-energize a team.



From S.T.A.L.E. to F.R.E.S.H. :

5 simple steps to an engaged team


by Karen Schmidt


We've all experienced the disengaged worker at some point. They're the person doing the minimum, blaming others for their mistakes and generally creating a negative environment around them. In other words, they are S.T.A.L.E.:

Stressed, Tired and Lacking Energy

What's really happening here is an imbalance in their skills to attitude ratio. So what happens when these two important factors are not in harmony?


When most people start a new job (even if they have prior experience elsewhere) they have lots of enthusiasm but lack the skills to do the job.


As they develop their skills they move towards the ideal combination of ability and enthusiasm . . . I like my job and I know how to do it.


They still have the skills to do the job but not the enthusiasm for it. This could be a temporary situation or something more permanent. Mean not only represents their attitude it also can signify that their performance has reached the mean or average of those around them.

Has Been

Spend too long in "Mean" and risk entering the final phase when not only is their enthusiasm long gone, but now their skills have slipped due to a lack of interest in staying up to date.

The management dream

Isn't it every manager's dream to have a team of people who all enjoy their job and know how to do it . . . a team of people who are fully engaged! Imagine the impact it would have on turnover and sick leave, which would lead to lower error rates, greater customer satisfaction and higher sales figures. The end result would be a dramatic increase to the bottom line of your organisation.

The link between employee engagement and bottom line benefits is real. It even has a name . . . James Heskett at the Harvard Business School calls it the "service-profit chain".

His theory is that:

  • â ¢ Profit and growth are stimulated by customer loyalty
  • â ¢ Customer loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction
  • â ¢ Customer satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services they receive
  • â ¢ Service vale is created by satisfied employees
  • â ¢ Employee satisfaction results primarily from high quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers

Keeping them Keen

Boosting the performance of your team is achievable when you give people a common framework for understanding the attitude factors that lead to success. The F.R.E.S.H. approach formula can help you do that. It is a simple, 5 step process that can be applied to any organisation and adapted to suit the needs of staff and managers alike.

The F.R.E.S.H.approach is all about:

Forward thinking

The best way to stop living in the past is to have a clear vision of the future. This allows you to recognise opportunities when they come along.


The ability to bounce back from the ups and downs of life is vital. Avoid becoming an emotional yo-yo by understanding how to separate what happens to you from who you are as a person


Nothing worthwhile can be achieved without enthusiasm. Tapping into the passion that lies within all of us is the key to maintaining high levels of enthusiasm.


Get out of your comfort zone and experience the freedom that comes with it. Find ways to stretch yourself symbolically and you will see results.


Keeping it all in balance will ensure your ongoing success. Learn to recognise the dangers signs when you are out of balance in the 6 key areas of life.

How to move from S.T.A.L.E. to F.R.E.S.H.

So now you've recognised the problem and the solution, what's next?  How do you Implement the F.R.E.S.H. approach in your organisations?

There are 3 easy steps in the process:

1. Understand the role of attitude at work

2. Give meaning to each factor in the F.R.E.S.H. approach

3. Provide people with practical ways to use the concepts on a daily basis

Before you know it, you will see your team start to come to life as they develop a F.R.E.S.H. approach!


About the author: Karen Schmidt is a speaker, workshop leader and facilitator. Her website is

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