PART ONE: DEFINITION
Chapter 1: Why Meaning Matters
The truth is that far too many of us feel a lack of true significance and meaning in how we spend our precious life’s hours at work. As a result, many simply disengage at some level, something companies can ill-afford in today’s productivity crazy world. This chapter shines a light on astonishing statistics and perspective that indicates a crisis of disengagement and lack of meaning lie smoldering in the workplace today. The case is laid out for how the creation of meaning can serve as a competitive advantage, drawing the connection between meaning-making and elevated performance. The case is also made that beyond competitive advantage, the creation of meaning serves as a compassionate advantage, and that by creating meaning, everyone profits.
Chapter 2: The Markers of Meaning
This chapter reveals the existence of distinct Markers of Meaning – or conditions that when intentionally attended to and wired into a work environment drive derivation of meaning and fulfillment. With each condition (or Marker) met, more and more meaningfulness and fulfillment is derived, and accordingly performance thus escalates higher and higher. The Markers of Meaning can be organized within three groupings – conditions that yield a calming and clarifying sense of inner Direction, conditions that lead to a gratifying sense of self-Discovery and growth, and conditions that engender Devotion to one’s work and a deeper connection between employer, employees, and a greater good. After learning about the conditions that create meaning in and at work, you’ll learn how to ignite them in each of the chapters that follow.
PART TWO: DIRECTION
Chapter 3: The Potency of Purpose
Learn about the incredible, meaning-making power of establishing a sense of purpose in your work. Purpose is the Profound Why behind your work, and life. Why are you working so hard – for what higher order end? Why are you spending so many hours away from loved ones, friends, and family? Why are you here on this planet? Or on the other side of the scale, why aren’t you inspired to work your hardest? Does what you do matter? Imagine the power unleashed when we can answer these questions. Having a sense of purpose is one of the richest veins of meaning and motivation available for us to mine, one we simply cannot ignore. Research clearly supports that work designed to promote a sense of purpose yields a treasure trove of meaning and fulfillment and directly links to heightened performance. Discover the Path to Purpose – a six step process that guides you through the identification and articulation of one’s own personal purpose, and watch performance and feelings of significance soar.
Chapter 4: The Lighthouse of Legacy
If purpose is the Profound Why in your work (Why are you working – for what higher order end?), then legacy is the Profound What (What are you working on that is of meaning to tangibly leave behind?). The idea of leaving a legacy behind is a transformative thought to consider within the context of the workplace. The method of so doing starts with a commitment to being intentional about the pursuit. Then, you can learn to bring the “Profound What” to life by understanding The Five Footprints of Legacy (the manners in which humans tend to leave a lasting impact behind), and by then executing The Five Step Footpath to Legacy-worthy Results (the specific steps one can take to articulate and then maximize the fulfilling legacy left behind via meaningful results). Your work will come to matter much more as you travel through the steps, and the level of meaning and performance present will multiply many times over.
PART THREE: DISCOVERY
Chapter 5: Learning & Personal Growth
Conventional wisdom says employees are largely on their own to maximize individual learning and growth. Well, conventional wisdom isn’t running some of the most meaning-rich workplaces in the country. In these places of employment, the individual employee will indeed take responsibility for their personal growth, but do so while wired into an intentionally structured learning and growth eco-system. The combination is a meaning-making machine, as confidence and competence escalate. Such “learning organizations” know that an environment that facilitates high-performance learning and personal challenge is essential for personal fulfillment, and an imperative to compete. Learn how to construct such an atmosphere via a specific framework that helps turn the conference room into a classroom. It is a “How To” for promoting personal learning and growth, and the elevated meaning, fulfillment, and performance that go along with it.
Chapter 6: Meaningful Decision Making & Influence
It is a misconception that decision making processes exist solely to make the call and get employees focused on what matters. Fact is, thoughtful decision making processes help employees matter more. Research consistently shows that work comes to be meaningful when individuals see themselves as capable of substantively influencing outcomes. It’s meaningful because it tells them they are not powerless and they have the ability to make a real difference. Learn in this chapter how to conduct decision making in a step-by-step meaning-making manner. A specific process is shared that maintains the involved employee at the center and casts a careful eye on what maximizes meaningful involvement during the decision making process.The art of intelligently granting autonomy, in a fashion that avoids the hidden pitfalls of so doing, is covered as well.
PART FOUR: DEVOTION
Chapter 7: Cultures of Consequence
There are many types of winning cultures. This chapter makes the distinction that to sustain elevated performance over time however, a special kind of culture is required – one that propels performance in a way that maximizes daily meaning derived and fulfillment experienced for each of its members. More specifically, cultures built on a foundation of caring, authenticity, and teamwork comprise what the author calls Cultures of Consequence. Such a culture serves as a wellspring of meaning and fulfillment that employees draw from each and every day. Forging such a cultural underpinning results in employees feeling like they work in a tight-knit community. Employees will develop deep emotional bonds with each other and with their company. They will feel appreciated, respected, and cared for and about. They will experience a great sense of inter-connectedness with their fellow employees and feel a harmonious connection with their true selves as well. All of this in turn further enhances a “performance culture” as deeply committed and interconnected employees are highly motivated to perform individually and as a group. It sets norms of behavior that produces results. Learn how to construct a meaning-rich culture of consequence in this chapter, leveraging the many tools contained within.
Chapter 8: Meaning-Making Leadership
Through their conduct and communications, leaders can help others find meaning in and at work. This chapter unveils four primary characteristics of meaning-making leaders and brings them to life via case studies on various CEO’s especially skilled at meaning-making. Understanding these characteristics can help leaders make meaning that fulfills and fosters elevated performance in a variety of ways. The chapter also details how meaning-making managers can carry out their trade through meaning-making messaging. Leaders that create meaning through their communications do so by inspiring a felt sense of confidence, certainty, and community. Communicating in such a manner means the difference between compliance and commitment – learn how with the tools provided in this chapter.
Chapter 9: Cutting Off Corrosive Behaviors
The unfortunate truth is that managers at all levels routinely, and unwittingly, can drain meaning at work rather than drive it. Prior chapters of the book focus on the additive ways in which a manager can hardwire in meaning, fulfillment, and the resultant elevated performance at work. This chapter illuminates the subtractive managerial behaviors that can take something away from an employee and that detract meaning. When a manager’s behaviors compromise an employee’s sense of certainty, completion, confidence, or community, it means meaning and fulfillment exit stage left. Learn about the Components of Corrosion, the most toxic, meaning sapping behaviors a manager can exhibit. Then discover a cadre of tools that the well-meaning manager can employ to help them avoid demonstrating these behaviors. Cutting off such debilitating behaviors can preserve the integrity of an environment that’s been well stocked with meaning making mechanisms.
PART FIVE: DILIGENCE
Chapter 10: A Plan to Make It Matter
with a full toolbox of options for creating meaning in and at work (from chapters 1-9), chapter 10 helps the reader weave all the options into a comprehensive plan. Several organizing options are offered to help the manager construct a complete, tailored plan for creating meaning, fulfillment, and corresponding profound performance.