Leaders are perpetually in search of the Holy Grail of organizational performance, yet the same chronic organizational problems persist. Unless those problems are directly addressed, organizational outcomes remain the same. It is critical for leaders to ignore the latest popular management fad and focus on the non-novel—the plaindirectstraightforward elements of organizational behavior that make a real difference in performance. The endless stream of articles on LinkedIn are evidence that chronic organizational issues exist and have yet to be solved.

Though organizations may differ in their products and services, their chronic challenges are very much the same across time and location, because human nature is the same across time and space. In my four decades in the corporate world, I continually observed the same problems repeat themselves over and over again, irrespective of markets, geographies, and product lines.

If Your Water Cooler Could Talk is distilled from my decades of hands-on leadership of teams, academic research and graduate-level teaching, personal observations in many of the Fortune 500, and my writing and speaking. This book provides you with an alternative to employee engagement and a playbook for transformation focused on the chronic issues that all organizations face.

“Having an engaged workforce has never been more critical to achieving our strategic goals. We introduced the Organization Engagement assessment tool to our business in 2018 as the first step in our newly created Human Capital initiative. The survey results allowed us to align our global leadership team and validated several key transformational opportunities to improve our organizational performance and our overall business results. Any company looking to take their Human Capital Management to the next level would benefit from utilizing this approach to an engaged workforce.”

~ Rob Hoglund, CFO and VP of Finance, Vernay


“I liked the metaphors of watercooler! Besides the smoking shed, the watercooler area is one of the few places in the organization where ‘purity’ still exists. The six elements of Organizational Engagement transcend cultures and can be universally applied. It moves away from the traditional survey of getting ground-up feedback and trying to fit into the bigger picture. Organizational Engagement starts with the ‘Big Why’ as a beacon for all employees to align their vision with the organization’s vision. Well done!”

~Raymund Chua, Managing Director, Heraeus, Singapore


“‘People are our greatest asset’” is a common notion spoken by good leaders every day. Good leaders also understand the employee engagement metrics for their organization, but that isn’t enough. Great leaders are the ones who really believe people are their greatest asset and want their organization to thrive, so they ask what is our Organizational Engagement? Dr. Jim Bohn does a masterful job distilling a wealth of research to make the case for Organizational Engagement. Jim also leverages many real-life experiences that will resonate strongly with people from all industries and organizations offering sound advice and guidance that will immediately help your organization improve.

~ Mike Markiewicz,  Director, Executive Programs
UW-Milwaukee Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business