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View More Press Releases by eePulse, Inc.

Press release:

Study Shows Leaders De-Energized and Why Respondents rate their energy levels in University of Michigan, Leadership Pulse

Issued by: eePulse, Inc.

Date: Feb. 23, 2004

Melanie Rembrandt, 248-540-9660 ext. 333

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – February 23, 2004 – The majority of the 911 executive leaders who responded to the January 2004 Leadership Pulse, a research project conducted by Dr. Theresa Welbourne of the Michigan Business School and eePulse, Inc., indicated that they are feeling less productive than usual and somewhat de-energized at work due to various reasons including lack of sleep, health, planning, responsibility, appreciation levels, personal problems, and other issues. The results suggest that stress on executives may be at an all time high, and this stress may be leading to executives doubting their abilities.

In the study, senior leaders (61% of whom were C- or VP-level executives) rated their personal levels of energy (or motivation) at work and the level at which they are most productive. In every view of the data (when cut by job level, performance level, respondent occupation, size of firm, and more), respondents rated their current energy levels as being lower than their most optimal and most productive energy levels. In over seven years of research using this metric, this result has not been so consistently found among a senior group of executives.

Study Specifics
The study questions were based on an optimization scale, where the target number that is best for someone is not the high end of the scale (a ten) but somewhere in between low (1) and high (10). Below are sample statistics showing results for firms in different organization performance categories:

Rating of firm performance          Average Energy Level*     Energy Where Executives
Are Most Productive*
Low                         5.99                    8.09
Average                         6.61                    8.24
Very high                     7.21                    8.36

* 1 to 10 scale; 1=no energy; 8=very high energy; 10=overly energized (burnout).

Note that the energy ratings and the scores where the executives think they are most productive increase as you go from lower to higher performing organizations. This is not surprising as prior research has documented that the self-rating of energy predicts productivity, individual, team, and firm performance. However, the data also shows gaps between where the executives are most productive and their current self-rating of energy, and no matter what the performance level of the firm (or any other demographic point for that matter), executives are rating themselves lower than where they are most productive.

"This result is very surprising," states Welbourne. "In studies of over 70 organizations over the last 7 years, I would expect to see leaders rating their current energy levels at or above their most productive levels. I’m afraid these results suggest the effects of an economy and work environment where our most senior executives are feeling less confident than they were in the past. The downturn in the economy might be finally taking its toll on senior executives."   

In order to further understand the findings, two open-ended comments questions were asked.
Respondents reported the types of things that made them feel positively energized at work and those
things that made their energy ratings go into the too low or too high (burnout) zones. The findings suggest the following:

• Sleep, exercise, and overall health levels are having profound impacts on leaders.

• Clarity of vision, adequate planning, and execution followed by success are key for energizing leaders. Lack of these things de-energizes leaders.

• On a personal level, leaders respond positively to the same things employees need:  sense of appreciation, challenging work, positive feedback, and ability to have time to get their work done.

• Reducing barriers to performance by minimizing meetings, reducing bureaucracy and helping teams work better together all optimize energy levels.

• Many personal problems, such as death in families, illness, alcohol, and more lead to de-energizing events.

• Negativism, dishonesty, lack of cash and sales, and dysfunctional leadership at any level in the company makes leaders feel de-energized.

"In the October data, we found that leaders were feeling more confident about the economy but less confident in themselves, their ability to execute on vision, their strategy, and that they have the right people and skills,” states Welbourne. "I worry that the stress on executives is at an all time high, and that stress has finally led to executives doubting their own abilities."

Persons requesting more detailed analyses of these data or individual managers who wish to be included in the Leadership Pulse study can contact Dr. Welbourne at 734.996.2321. A website is available for individuals who wish to participate in the study or for those organizations that would like to have up to 50 senior leaders participate in the study. If a company participates with multiple executives, it will receive monthly benchmark data at no charge. If interested in individual participation or expanded participation for benchmark reports, please visit either www.eepulse.com (see Leadership Pulse) for more information or sign up at the following web site: www.umbs.leadership.eepulse.com.

About Executive Education at the Michigan Business School

Executive Education at the University of Michigan Business School is made up of world-class educators and researchers renowned for their skill in creating and integrating knowledge with practical application. Their academic backgrounds are coupled with their direct involvement with leading companies worldwide. In fact, Business Week's 2003 Executive Education survey has named Michigan among the top three providers of executive education in the world — a distinction they've been honored to receive throughout the fifteen year history of the ranking. In order to meet the changing needs of customers and the competitive environment, their executive education programming consists of “Centers of Excellence” which focus on topical areas that mirror the multidisciplinary nature of the issues facing businesses today. They offer a wide array of choices for executive and organizational development including a comprehensive portfolio of over 40 high-impact, public and custom programs, workshops, executive forums, symposia based on topics of current interest, a speaker's bureau of offering topic-specific experts for company meetings and other forums, and executive mentoring services. For additional information, please contact Executive Education at the Michigan Business School at um.exec.ed@umich.edu, 734.763.1000.

About eePulse, Inc.

eePulse, Inc. delivers web-based leadership tools for continuous improvement and change management. Using eePulse’s proprietary web-based enterprise-wide software suite called Measurecom™ (measurement and communication), organizations and leaders immediately improve their performance. Productivity enhancement comes from action taken in response to real-time stakeholder information. Using Pulse Survey and Pulse Reporting engines, data are provided as frequently as weekly so that immediate action can be taken to confront “breaking news.”  Managers solve problems and pursue opportunities today, improving quality, enhancing customer service, realigning strategy, and improving organizational agility, learning, and performance at all levels. The complete Measurecom product suite includes Pulse surveys, Pulse Reports, Communicate-back tools, Issue tracking, Action planning, Learning modules, Proprietary metrics such as Energy Pulse, Suggestion Pulse, and ChangeStep Pulse, in addition to ROI analysis and reporting.  For additional information, please call 734.996.2321 or visit www.eepulse.com.

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For more information: http://www.eepulse.com

View More Press Releases by eePulse, Inc.

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