Gallup vs. Leadership IQ

boys playing boxing

For those of you looking for a little drama and entertainment in an otherwise conservative industry, let me introduce you to the Employee Engagement Throwdown between Leadership IQ and the Gallup Organization.

Many of you may have read about a study conducted by Leadership IQ that found that Low Performers are More Engaged than High and Middle Performers.  Essentially, Leadership IQ found this in 42% of the organizations involved in the study.  The implications of this are massive, right?  Or, does it simply lead to the conclusion that Leadership IQ is measuring performance or engagement or both horribly wrong.

Gallup decided to tackle this question with the blog post titled No, Low Performers Are Not More Engaged Than High Performers.  Essentially, calling into to question the methodology used by Leadership IQ supported by reasonable questions about the study such as:

  • Quality of the performance measurement Leadership IQ used
  • What percentage of the population does each organization in the study represent
  • How large are the samples in each organization?
  • Does the study control for other factors that can influence engagement and performance or do they distort the results?
  • Over what time periods did the study measure engagement and performance?
  • What is the quality of the engagement measure and what validation evidence is available?

Then, the fun really begins with Leadership IQ’s blog post entitled, Gallup wants a Fight with Leadership IQ where they call Gallup’s post shameful.  This is better than an East vs. West Coast rap battle from the 80’s.  Leadership IQ accuses Gallup of Ignoring the Truth because it doesn’t fit their model…and there is also something about treating employees like children.  It is definitely worth a read.

I read a virtual boatload of stuff on Leadership, Employee Engagement, and Talent Management and frankly most of it is the same old stuff repackaged over and over again.  So, I appreciate this battle royal from an entertainment perspective.  But, let’s look at this for what it is:

– Leadership IQ is intentionally being provocative (especially with the latest post) to drive traffic to their website and get some free PR…mission accomplished.

– Gallup is taking a predictable defensive position to protect any negative impact on their engagement business.  They are certainly not worried about Leadership IQ as a competitor.  The study would likely have went unnoticed if it had not been picked up by several leading media sources.

I don’t have a dog in this fight – as our focus is on Leadership – and I do believe that it is dangerous to dismiss research just because it is not consistent with what you believe.  However, there is a term for research that is not subjected to rigorous third-party review (regardless of the source)…it’s called marketing.

Until next time…

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