Art Petty posted a to-the-point commentary about what a leader can do to help employees realize they can make a difference in the organization. According to Petty, a survey of Fortune 500 organizations revealed that 40% of employees don't think that what they do makes a difference in the company's performance. OUCH! That's a huge malaise. Talk about meaningless work! In today's economy NO ONE should be involved in trivial pursuits. Leaders must continually step up to the plate and look at the spoken and unspoken messages being sent around the organization. I agree with Petty: open, frank conversation is critical for discovering what current practices and beliefs are creating a sense of worthlessness and cynicism. But having frank conversations is not a skill set for many people. By using the neutral lessons from GIFTS FROM THE MOUNTAIN, a leader can initiate conversations that open the doors for deeper issues. Likewise, you might consider getting outside facilitation help to open the conversations. I know I've been called in to help teams learns how to speak their truth in ways that produce results an improved relationships. Lastly, listening is a learned skill. To be able to carry a conversation and listen without judgment is a skill that requires constant practice. Consider having a "shadow" who observes you in meetings and can give you feedback on just how you behaved as both a listener and a speaker. There's much we all do unconsciously that sends the wrong signals in this tricky field of human communication.