James Bond: The World’s Most Engaged Secret Agent!

By Jeff Jolton

It has been 50 years since the first “official” James Bond film, “Dr. No”, opened. With the latest release, “Skyfall”, James Bond is back in the theaters for his 23rd outing. Those statistics speak to a strong track record for 007, and I couldn’t help but think that to stay in the same role for so long, he must be the world’s most engaged secret agent! So, I thought I would look at potential drivers of engagement for Mr. Bond.

He Was Given a Motivating Mission and Vision

It is often said that people engage to missions and visions, not just companies. There is no doubt that Mr. Bond has had his share of missions, but serving On Her Majesty’s Secret Service¸ Mr. Bond has perhaps the most motivating of business strategies and visions to serve: Saving the world! One evil scientist/henchman/criminal mastermind at a time.  Clearly our favorite spy has been given a very motivating future vision to help sustain him through tough times – knowing that at the end of the day, he needs to stay motivated to help stave off disaster and build a bright future for us all! For Mr. Bond, Tomorrow Never Dies!

He Appreciates Inclusion and Diversity

Mr. Bond is definitely a man of the world, travelling globally to serve wherever he is needed. Along the way he works with a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds. Swedes, Russians, Japanese, Americans, British and beyond – Mr. Bond is never shy in getting to know his partners more intimately, he involves them in his activities and appreciates their unique talents and, uh, skills.

He Has the Right Tools and Technology to Do the Job

Where would Mr. Bond be without a souped up Aston Martin DB5 with ejection seats and machine gun taillights (take that Goldfinger!) Q branch’s Major Boothroyd makes sure that our hero has the right tools for the job, and clearly he is never (well rarely) left out in the cold without something to help him meet his business objectives. So, whether it is having his signature Walther PPK 7.65mm firearm at hand, his garrote watch, bell rocket belt, watch with laser beam cutting tool or just a small camera (or disguised camera), Mr. Bond’s engagement is enhanced by having what he needs to do his job well.

He Gets Recognition

Being a high performer shouldn’t be a thankless job, and although it may be tough to get praise from his boss (the no-nonsense M) he is shown appreciation for doing a good job at the end of the day. And certainly, Nobody Does it Better! As a high performer, his rewards come not only from various forms of praise, but also in getting increasingly more challenging goals and missions to continue to help his professional growth and development.

He is Trusted and Empowered

Being out in the field as much as he is, it would be quite disengaging if Mr. Bond constantly had to check in with headquarters or get permission from M to do something. Instead he receives appropriate training and development ahead of his tasks, and is trusted to follow through and make the right decisions. He is trusted with secret documents and high priority materials For Your Eyes Only that help give him the additional information and knowledge he needs to perform at his best. He is obviously allowed to take informed risks if he feels they will help serve the objectives. Mr. Bond isn’t your run-of-the-mill crash-em and smash-em rouge cop. He knows not to abuse the authority he is given and makes the right decisions to help get to the right end (although I do suspect he enjoys jumping from building to building as he seems to do that a lot!).

 His Work is Meaningful

At the end of the task, Mr. Bond can sit back and relax knowing his work has made a difference and is contributing to the overall success of the Secret Service. Furthermore, he gets to see positive impact of his efforts through the appreciation of others for his good work. Even his nemeses know of his reputation and begrudgingly admire his past contributions. Knowing his work is valued and makes an impact means that he can continue seeking new challenges. After all, The World is not Enough for our master spy.

He will continue to seek out new opportunities as long as he stays engaged. For his sake, ours, and the world at large, let’s hope he does.

Jeff Jolton

Jeff Jolton

Jeffrey A. Jolton, Ph.D., is the Director of Consulting at Kenexa, overseeing the development and thought leadership for many of Kenexa's largest global survey and organization research projects. Dr. ...(Read More)

Posted in: Employee Engagement, HR Tips

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