“Change from a culture of ‘paycheck’ to a culture of ‘purpose’,” admonishes Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of The Gallup Organization in his introduction to Gallup’s annual State of The American Workplace Report, recently released.

Once again (for over 20 years now) Gallup is reporting that 2/3rds of America’s workers are not engaged. That’s tragic! Imagine the social progress being delayed by this horrible fact. Imagine the life-saving drugs that are not being developed. Imagine the new sources of clean energy that are being delayed. Imagine how much better our world would be, if we (collectively) focused our energies on reversing this trend.

So what is “a culture of purpose?” And, how does that differ from “a culture of paycheck?”

How about curing heart disease (the #1 killer of Americans)- that would seem to provide a motivating purpose. Yet, Gallup reports that the amount of disengagement varies little from industry to industry. Our American peers in the pharmaceuticals industry seem to be just as disengaged as the rest of us.

Fusion Leaders fixate on the leadership behaviors that attract workers to their organizations purpose and how those (engaging) behaviors differ from those that drive workers away from an organization. I spent three years writing Fusion Leadership Unleashing The Movement of Monday Morning Enthusiasts, interviewing and gathering information from many nationally known leaders who built amazing organizations on the foundation of engaged workers.

Workers want to know that their job connects to a larger purpose. That’s engaging. On the other hand, when workers conclude that they show up on Monday morning merely to enrich and empower their boss- that’s demotivating. While there are many factors that influence the engagement of workers, there is a bright line that distinguishes those leaders who are able to engage their workers from those who contribute to a culture of disengage workers.

Leaders who genuinely evidence their commitment to their organization’s purpose “fuse” their teams together around that purpose, creating engaged employees. Conversely, leaders who evidence their commitment to their own self interests, placing their interests ahead of their organizations purpose, drive workers away from the organization’s purpose. Fusion Leadership explores the everyday decisions leaders make that allow employees to distinguish the degree of commitment their leadership evidences toward their purpose compared to their own self-interests. Consider these simple, daily decisions every leader makes: when a leader conducts a meeting, who becomes the smartest person in the room? Or, whom does the leader prioritize on his or her calendar, the front line workers or the other executives? Or, how much does the leader pay him or her and how much does the leader pay others?

This last question brings us back to Jim Clifton’s advice to “change from a culture of ‘paycheck’ to a culture of ‘purpose’.”