May 032014
 

Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, is on a YouTube channel called Creative Mornings New York, and I recently took in his talk on why people hate their jobs…and how they can love them.

The consequences of hating your job are enormous – stress for you and your family, missed opportunities for happiness and growth, and even stress-related chronic diseases or tragic mistakes for those in medical or safety related fields.

Sinek says the root of the problem is that we expect our primary motivation to be money. The whole American system is based on that dynamic, but it fails to address the primary reason why employees feel fulfilled in their jobs, when they do.

Think about the word fulfillment. It’s more than motivation or happiness, but points to a need getting filled. We are social creatures and we want to be part of something important. We want others we work with to celebrate our work because it helps them, and they want us to celebrate theirs for the same reason.

Sinek points to the power of a demonstration – doing something nice for someone else because they know it helps. Those that see this demonstration take it to heart, and if they believe in the dynamic, they pay it forward by doing the same for another person.

What kind of demonstration would motivate you to do something helpful for a co-worker? For me, it’s a demonstration of trust in my intentions and ability to train a group of people someone cares about.

I’ve been conducting sales training lately for my company’s transition to a new company, where we are blending people from two formerly separate teams into one. The sales training is just an excuse for the real work that is being done – working together to form bonds and share the benefit of their experience, and helping them align in a way that is meaningful to each of them personally.

We have been working on those personal Why statements, and the managers are in there with them. I’m starting to hear back that, far from it being tiresome or silly, the Why exercise is the most valuable part of the training for some of them.

It’s humbling and gratifying to see that proper use of adult learning principles, along with my belief that the methods we use as a business are aligned with my sense of integrity, are making a positive impact on the teams I train. I have no doubt that my co-trainer has been experiencing the same thing in his classes, which he is teaching in the room next to mine.

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