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Why do you do the work you do?

Uncategorized Jan 19, 2018


Why do you do what you do?  This is an important question for every single person for their work life.

Beyond most people’s need to support themselves or their families—why do we do what we do?

Passion, or it’s slightly less emotional cousin, caring, for your work comes from having an important reason to do it and do it well. To think about it at odd times and develop ways to do it better or faster. To make the extra effort to follow through on commitments or ensure that balls don’t get dropped.

The most effective companies and/or teams have a reason for their existence.  It is the leader’s job to develop and articulate WHY your company exists, and to hire people who care about that mission.

Most people care about helping others. If your company has a mission for helping others improve their lives in some way, then you and your people can work tirelessly to find better ways to make that happen.

Some people care deeply about the environment, so if you and your team are striving to do what you do in a way that is clean and green, you will key into people’s passions. And likely, into the passion of consumers, by the way.

The key is to have a mission for your company that your team buys into and that inspires action and connection.

We all know the story of the NASA janitor, who, when asked by President Kennedy what he did, replied that he was working to put a man on the moon.

Your mission needs to be part of the DNA of your organization, from the receptionist to the CEO and everyone in between.  Everyone should have a role to play in accomplishing the mission, and everyone must be respected for playing a key role in reaching the goal.

Your mission must be authentic.

If you say that your mission is to produce widgets in the greenest, most conservation-minded way possible, and yet you use paper plates at your company picnic, then you have some areas that are not aligned and your people will wonder if the mission is just lip service.

If your stated mission is to help people acquire an education, then every decision should be based on whether or not the outcome gets you closer to that goal.

A mission that people are passionate about accomplishing is what keeps your team engaged and inspired to do their best work. Work with your team to clarify the purpose of your organization and then keep it at the forefront of everything that you do.

As a leader, if you are able to do this (along with a myriad of other things necessary to be a better leader), your team will be willing to put up with boring but necessary work that moves you closer to making the world a better place. And, they might just love it!


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