Work must be seen as a means for personal discovery and development if people are to give their all. A leader who seeks to inspire passion and energy in the organization he or she serves will work diligently to broaden the borders of the job with meaning. A leader who has engaged the hearts of those she leads – with knowledge, with meaning, with the logos – will engage their hands, as well.
Engage the heart and the hand automatically follows.
The outcome is discretionary effort, passionate performance, and a deep desire for excellence. Throughout the 1990s, the term “value-added” was added to the corporate lexicon. But what too many organizations fail to provide is meaning. A “value-added” environment is one that is meaning-ful! One of the prime functions of the Leader’s Leader is to communicate and articulate the purpose behind everything that each individual and every group in the organization does. NULL The leader is consistently moving about the organization, telling people how their work fits into the overall effort and supports the whole. “Do you realize how important your job is?” such leaders will often ask their purpose partners. “Without you, there is no way this organization can succeed.” I have said that real power is the power that makes other people powerful. Let me narrow the definition of power even further;
Real power is the ability to transform purpose into performance.
An organization that fails to empower its staff with a sense of the purpose behind everything they do creates a meaning gap. And yet managers wring their hands and wonder why staffers seem lethargic and take no initiative! I meet senior corporate executives all across America, and one of their common laments is, “We want to see more passion in our companies.” The answer to their dilemma was provided, not by a psychologist, but by a noted physicist, Dr. David Bohm, who said:
“Only meaning arouses energy.”
People perform with passion when their work is meaningful – when they view their work philosophically. Work must be seen as a means for personal discovery and development if people are to give their all. I want to spend some more time next month on the idea of a meaning-driven organization. This is a crucial concept for every one of you who works in a leadership position, so hang in there with me!