How to Bring the Power of Purpose into Daily Practice
Managers complain that they don’t have time to monitor and manage their team’s energy. Yet, when their car gets close to “E”, they take time to fuel up.
Short-sighted managers care more about fueling cars than energizing people.
You refill the car when the gauge reads low. So why are the tanks on your team pointing to “E”?
Remarkable progress requires extraordinary energy.
When managers don’t have time to inspire their teammates, their team eventually runs on empty. Yes, there are some people who go like the energizer bunny. But most of us are real human beings, not bunnies.
Purpose is energy.
Suppose you’re teaching little Wilma to swing a bat so she can hit the ball. Ask, “Why do you want to hit the ball?”
Wilma might say, “So I can get to first base.”
Adopt the language of purpose to energize people.
Talk about getting to first base when teaching Wilma to hit the ball. “Let’s work on getting to first base.”
Suppose you’re teaching little Fred to swing the bat. Ask, “Why do you want to hit the ball?”
Fred says, “So I can hit a home-run and hear the crowd cheer.”
Talk about cheering crowds when teaching Fred to hit the ball. “Let’s work on hearing the crowd cheer.”
Ask your teammates why they come to work.
- Buying a new car.
- Saving for the college fund.
- Providing a product our customers love to buy.
Words are rudders. Teams move in the direction of their conversations.
- Great work saving for little Barney’s college fund today.
- Let’s go make some widgets that people love to buy.
- Hey Betty, I can almost smell that new car.
Purpose fuels energy. What other ways might managers energize teams?
Acknowledgement: Managers that don’t have time to inspire their teams are often driven by – results only – upper management.
Don’t miss Saturday’s post: The Amazing Power of Being Valued by Others and the Path to Get There
Great advice. There is a big difference between sporting the title “manager” and being a true leader. With a little more time investment in motivating teams, a leader could get more support in return to get things done.
Thanks Matters. Everyone wins when teams are focused and energized. It actually doesn’t take time to inspire people. It takes time to push uninspired people.
Dan, this is interesting stuff. In most organisations, everything that you mention motivates people would be considered poor, or second-rate motivation, apart from widget-making on the company’s behalf. Personal, especially intrinsic motivations are “bad”, even though they are major drivers of most peoples’ working life. Managers get taught to drive intrinsic motivation, even in its absence. I think this is why managers fill cars with fuel – filling cars with fuel is what cars need. Managers are supposed to fill people with the equivalent of of a blinding, holy light, not just the equivalent of standard unleaded…
Thanks Mitch. I intentionally chose common motivations. I wanted the post to feel like an every day thing.
You bet, buying a new car isn’t the most noble motivation. But for a 22 yr old, it might be a big driver! 🙂
You’re too right it’s a big driver! I think a lot of management systems read Deci and Ryan’s stuff in intrinsic motivation and ignored anything else. Lots of management is about motivating people to have “mission”. My view is that there are a great many people working hard in jobs whose mission is driven by their own vision, not by the vision of the company. If you ignore that, you lose good people.
Mind Set is important in any conversation based on growth. The conversation around the “Growth Mindset” by Dr. Carol Dweck, is a GREAT formula for this conversation. Through the “Growth Mindset”, an investment is made into the reasons why and purpose for certain outcomes.
A great start to scratching the surface of adding maturity to what has become an environment of Integrated Thinking. Our thoughts in the professional setting should be with Purpose. Understanding the Purpose is an investment of Progressive Thinking.
This is so true. I liked the car analogy because we can all relate to it. Great insight!
I am an employee whose skills are not understood in my organization. All my manager is bothered about is to satisfy his product delivery. Never bothers to check if I am satisfied with the work. Its like I am doing his bid without a purpose. Neither does he explains the scope of my work. So, ultimately end up doing work, duplicate work, rework without knowing how it is affecting the final product. And not to mention him yelling in frustration on open floor so all can hear.
Cool, I feel right now after venting out here. And I think I gained a perspective in the process. I can talk to him now and set his expectations at right place. And he should also learn to respect his team. yelling never helps, I am not going to help him if he goes on with his behavior. I will start looking for a better place to work where my skills are respected and put in all discussions with some veto power.
I really like the “hitting the baseball” with a purpose (goal) in mind – but Fred needs to understand the importance of getting to first base first and the crowd will still cheer with that accomplishment – and then progress to the home run swing. I like it!