When it comes to their work, most employees today want more than simply a means of ensuring that their basic needs are met. They have other needs to satisfy the need to have meaning and purpose, to tap into their potential and to find selfactualization. In his latest book Meaning at Work - And Its Hidden Language, author Danny Gutknecht shares strategies that can help organizations inspire employees to feel truly invested in what they’re doing.
Here are three takeaways from our time with Danny Gutknecht on Critical Mass Radio Show:
1. Engaging in meaningful work is beneficial for yourself and others. While on the show, Danny Gutknecht explained that meaning is about the way we show up in the world and interpret it. Feeling a sense of meaning and purpose in our work is not only good for our mental fitness, but also has physical benefits such as lowering stress hormones and promoting heart health. Having a poor attitude and outlook on what you are doing is not only personally limiting, but can also negatively impact those around you, specifically those who are working with you. Not being invested can feed into the culture of the organization as a whole, and cause others to feel less motivated and engaged as well. Do not depend on others, or the company as a whole, to create meaning for you. Finding meaning is a personal responsibility.
2. Your organization’s meaning should be separate from you. Do not dictate the meaning of the organization. Rather, let it take on a life of its own. Ask yourself what your company truly is, beyond the basics such as the mission and vision statement. What is the company truly doing in the world? In order to impact how your team views your company and finds value within it, it is necessary to think/analyze on a deeper level. Try to interpret the relationship your team has to the company, and the lense they view it through. Once you are able to identify your team’s perceptions and where they are currently finding their meaning at work you can begin building upon the elements of your company’s culture that work, and build a structure that fosters meaning. Growth happens when an company takes on a life of its own and its employees are stewards of the organization’s meaning, believing in it and embodying it wholeheartedly.
3. Find a joy worth struggling for. When we fail to do the things that bring meaning to our lives, we make excuses that lead us down a negative path and impact the atmosphere for those around us. However, when we find personal meaning in the work we are doing, it not only allows us to thrive personally, but can also have a larger scale impact on our businesses and communities. When you pursue what you want while collaborating with others, you end up gaining more value than you ever could alone. The only way to truly differentiate your company, Danny explained, is to have a culture rooted in structures of meaning.
Listen to our full interview with Danny Gutknecht here: