Are Your People Fulfilled in What They Do Every Day?
I have learned through the years that you can always make more money, but you can never make more time. It’s irreplaceable.
If that’s true, why waste your most precious commodity on work that’s unfulfilling? Yet we have all done it at some point in our lives. We’ve exchanged our time and talents for money, and we’ve done it with little joy or fulfillment.
As leaders, we know what that feels like. It can be soul crushing. Therefore, we use it as motivation to work extra hard to create an environment for our people that allows them to develop their character and find deep fulfillment in their work. The very definition of success has to include this. Yes, financial success is important, but making truckloads of money all by itself is a mirage, a tempting oasis with no water at all. Without fulfillment, it can only be deemed less than successful, if not a complete failure.
Here’s why. Achievement outside of personal growth is not fulfilling. Fulfillment only happens when transformation and growth occurs. You can help your people do both while still obtaining all of your financial goals you have set for your organization. I would even add this: When people are doing fulfilling work, they are more profitable and productive. They are constantly thinking about their work and how to improve on it. They love coming to work and they love the people they work with. That doesn’t mean they always love every task. And, it doesn’t mean that they never have a disagreement with their co-workers over how something should be done, or whether it should. But overall, fulfillment is the jet fuel to fly through any storms or difficulties and arrive at your planned destination as an organization.
Creating a workplace culture that allows people to find fulfillment is not easy. It requires a commitment. You’ll have to have conversations with your team members. Deep conversations. You’ll need to listen carefully to what they say. And, you’ll need to act upon what you hear. In those dialogues you will find out what kinds of roles are fulfilling for each individual.
Then, as much as you are able with the information you’ve been given, connect the dots. Describe what needs to be done and then ask who wants to do it. The team member who raises their hand and chooses the role most likely has some kind of strong intrinsic connection to it. Successfully completing the task, no matter how difficult or demanding, will give them the joy that only fulfillment can bring.
Aligning the right people toward fulfillment and the right role like this will be revolutionary in your organization. If you love your people, you simply have to do the heavy lifting to connect the dots for them. They know what moves them. They know what they care about and they have a strong inclination about what they are able to do and not do.
Listen and act on what you hear from them. If you do, you will be doing them the biggest favor you could ever do—saving them from wasting their precious time doing work that’s only work and giving them the deep satisfaction that achievement brings.