In this increasingly more with less business world, far too many are more or less checked out at work. Astonishing Gallup surveys indicate more than 70% of us are not engaged in work – with 20% actually actively disengaged – partaking in sabotaging behaviors! How can the work force en masse be contributing peak performance when they aren’t even engaged?
Even more shocking is that this isn’t new news – work engagement and satisfaction trends have been on a decade long decline. The usual motivational methods of pay, promotions, and perks aren’t working. How can they be with data like this staring us in the face?
So how to move forward? How to win back the disengaged, let alone sustain peak performance?
The answer must be something different than what we’re trying. Something deeper both psychologically and soulfully.
The answer is the motivational force of our times – meaning. That is, bringing a greater sense of personal significance into our work, so that it matters more.
When we have a personal stake in something, when it’s meaningful to us, we commit. The fact is that facilitating meaning in one’s work not only drives employees to engage, but takes them beyond engagement to elevated performance and true fulfillment. This is critical because many things can capture an employee’s time, attention, and engagement, temporarily. Meaning holds the engagement at the deepest, most fulfilling level, and it does so in a fashion that sustains over the long haul, constantly flowing back into a virtuous cycle of deeper engagement, more meaning, deeper fulfillment, and ever escalating performance.
I call this phenomenon profound performance.
It’s the depth and duration of engagement and fulfillment that accompanies the height of the associated performance that makes it profound. It is an absolute competitive advantage in the market for those managers and manufacturers that can create it.
And it is the inspiring end-goal for those managers that want to make work matter, for their teams, and themselves.
In my book, Make It Matter, and through my blog, facebook page, twitter account and speeches, I will help you step up, stand out, and make a step change in your work environment to create the powerful phenomenon known as profound performance.
The first step is to commit to the power that meaning-making holds. Then, understand and begin facilitating the 5 end states of meaning:
- We find meaning (or meaningfulness) in things that make emotional connections and are remembered, and thus matter. 1 When we feel a sense of belongingness or a sense that we are cared for, for example, it’s meaningful.
- We find meaning in things that make us feel significant.
- We find meaning in things that help us reach our full potential.
- We find meaning in things that help us make sense of things.
- We find meaning when we are serving who we are and what’s most important to us.
So get to work on facilitating these end-states of meaning for yourself and others, and watch performance, and fulfillment, sustain over the long haul.
That, would be a welcome surprise.
1 Holtaway, J., The Meaningful Workplace (May 30, 2012) from Gary Hamels emotive thinking blog.