Our goal as leaders is to help steer our team, motivate them when times get tough, and achieve the objectives and goals we’ve identified for the term. To do this well we consult with our clients on how to create Clarity, Alignment, and Purpose.
- Clarity of the vision.
- Alignment to make sure we’re all on the same page.
- And Purpose to understand how what we do matters.
Purpose tends to be the missing link for a great many organizations and leaders. (Especially during a particularly challenging period of time. Our purpose gets lost in the stress.) Yet, when employees understand the purpose behind their work — as in, why what they do matters — you can unlock another level of effort, effectiveness, and efficiency that wasn’t there before.
The difference between hands, head and heart.
When you have someone’s hands, they’re willing to do the work and will achieve some level of productivity. Companies that have built great processes into their work can achieve their goals with just their employee’s hands. The challenge is, they may not be putting their “all” into the work they do and they’re definitely not thinking about how to make the process better.
When you have someone’s head, they’re not only doing the work well, but they’re thinking about how they could do it better. An employee who is engaged at the “head” level will put more mental energy into the work they do and find different, better and more efficient ways of working. You’ll achieve productivity and profitability with a group of employees that use their heads, but there’s another level you can strive to achieve.
At the ‘heart’ level, you’ve engaged an employee in such a way that their heart is in the work they do. They understand the impact that their work creates, have purpose for what they do on a daily basis, and are all about helping others achieve the same level of success. Heart employees are loyal, empathetic, creative… and did I mention loyal?
Purpose is the key
Unlocking someone’s purpose for why they do what they do is an essential component of getting them to the heart level. A great resource to help understand how to engage your team is Simon Sinek’s original TED talk ‘Why Start With Why’. It’s been viewed millions of times and is widely regarded as one of the most popular TED talks of all time.
When someone is showing up to work with purpose on a daily basis, they require very little guidance or additional motivation. They’re likely willing to work themselves harder to achieve the cause they hold dear and can’t understand how others aren’t as passionate as they are.
They’re also incredibly influential to their teammates when allowed to share what makes them so passionate about the work.
Helping your team find their purpose
If answering the question, “why do you do what you do?” Is a challenge for members of your team, connect with them one-on-one and dig in to their passions. Find out what causes they hold dear, what long-held desires or drives have kept them going, and what they’d do to give their life meaning if they had all the money they ever needed. Quite often, when work is tied to the ability to contribute to a higher cause, the heart is automatically engaged.
As the owner of a firm, can you help your team find projects they can work on from time to time at work that help fill the passion bucket? More and more companies are offering volunteer time-off as a way of helping their employees find fulfillment outside of work, as well as in.
Purpose can also come when employees share their own future goals and aspirations with each other. One of the most meaningful programs we deliver contains a visioning exercise where each participant writes a letter to themselves three years into the future. When they break into small groups and read the letters to their peers, sharing their vision of a successful future, an amazing thing happens. Participants will often comment about how touched they were with their fellow employees goals. Many will say they feel even more compelled to help that person achieve everything they’ve set out to do.
You can still achieve results if you’ve got just your employee’s hands involved. You’ll experience greater results if you’ve engaged their heads in the work they do. However, to break records, to create loyalty, to build trust, and to keep the best employees working for you for a very long time, engage their hearts as much as possible.