I remember when I was a rebellious teenager, my mother would be the one to teach me the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and to reprimand me on my behavior. She would ask if I did what I did on purpose or was it accidental. The probability was that I just acted without thinking. Now that I am (somewhat) older, I can see that as a child one can just about avoid retribution with this excuse. However, after we reach our teenage years, that thinking is not really good enough and codes of behavior that include responsibility and accountability, become mandatory if we are to progress. My mother was a very sensible woman and taught me that I must always be responsible for my own actions and also for the words that came out of my mouth.
So I very quickly had to learn that things don’t ‘just happen’. They are usually planned through and then executed.
So let us apply that imperative into our business. Does your department have its own (unwritten) mission statement so that everyone within it knows what is expected from them?
Purpose and people
Those who arrive at their desk each day who are well aware of the extent and purpose of their schedule will work harder and more effectively. However, those who just come in and work like automatons will invariably not be working to their full potential. People who work with a sense of purpose and connect with it passionately will be more engaged and ultimately more effective at work, and also in life generally, because they will achieve personal fulfillment and satisfaction.
Keeping your staff motivated should not involve any extra cost but, on the contrary, lead to better performance and employee satisfaction. Helping your employees discover their sense of purpose will lead to increased productivity and competitive advantage throughout the organisation.
You may say, however, ‘I don’t know if my team do believe that their work is meaningful! So my reply would be, ‘Have you asked?’ Meaning and purpose are core motivators and monetary remuneration isn’t always the answer. Usually we are driven and inspired when we believe that what we are doing serves something more important than just profit and, we as human beings, crave for this additional meaning.
So if the answer is this simple, and it is, why do many companies seem to overlook it? The reasons are banal and mundane. Back to back meetings, email in-box overflowing, reduced time-scales, shortened delivery times, contract deadlines and no time to discuss and explain priorities, reasons and targets. However as a CEO, SVP, manager or team-leader – there is a responsibility, if not an imperative, to make time to talk to all employees about their individual tasks and responsibilities.
If you reply that you don’t have time, then I will say you need to make time otherwise eventually you will lose whatever competitive advantage you have. However, if you plan your time to include conversations with your team about their purpose and meaning at work, then they will be better motivated to work with increased satisfaction.
Purpose means connection
Meaningful work is one of the building blocks of resilience i.e. meeting challenges with confidence. When you believe that what you do has a purpose, then you establish a stronger connection with your values and ideals.
Your success as a leader, motivator or executive isn’t just the sum of all you do at any given time. The way to excel in your field and the way you will succeed is the degree to which you are purpose-driven and your team is likewise motivated.
If you look at those around you who regularly achieve their targets, both at work and in life generally, and to whom you aspire to emulate – they are usually those who have the strongest and most authentic sense of purpose behind them. If you want to grow strong, then you need a strong inner strength and a defined mission in order to get you there.
Purpose is not a guarantee of success but you cannot build something powerful and meaningful without it.
So are you a purpose-driven business or just one that makes money?
- Is your business money or purpose-driven?
- Do you achieve something more than profit?
- How do you motivate those who work for you?
Written by Carole Spiers and reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News.
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