Last week, Patti Choby, Owner of Inner Circle, Cleveland introduced the topic of finding meaning at work. This week we’ll dive a little deeper into some background and over the next five weeks, we’ll offer helpful insights to help you connect more meaningfully to the work you do everyday.
A scratch at the surface of what this quest for meaning in the workplace is really all about reveals a complicated web of reasoning. There’s the logic that it is an evolution in how we as a society perceive work. We no longer think of human beings as “cogs in an organizational wheel”. In an increasingly knowledge based economy, we must pay attention to the individuals that come to work everyday, taking time to understand who they are as human beings and what value they bring to the table.
Then there’s the reality that organizational structures are changing. Organizations are less hierarchical, flatter in nature. The physical location of the workplace matters less, as many employees now have opportunities to work virtually, on flexible schedules. A set of generational perspectives and attitudes about what success means and the importance of work/life balance have forced employers to change the way they operate to retain top talent. There are many more theoretical paths to follow when considering the question of meaning at work- but my fascination stems from what I believe to be at the core of most human beings: a search for purpose.
I believe that rooted in every human heart lies a unique set of contributions that once unlocked have the power to make an important impact in our world. No two sets of contributions are the same. Contributions nestled within each of us are made up of some combination of natural talents, skills, passions, strengths and perspective or outlook. I believe the difference between working to pay the bills and finding joy in our work is the degree to which we are able to identify and connect our individual contributions to the daily work we do. That is finding purpose, that is connecting to meaning and that can make a powerful difference in anyone’s life. Leaders have a responsibility to create an environment where those they lead are more likely to connect their skills, talents, values, strengths and passions to their work in ways that are meaningful to them.
There’s no forcing the finding of meaning on anyone, but there are several ways to make it more likely to happen in your workplace: perspective, language, leadership, connection to others and embarking on challenges.
Over the next five weeks, we’ll explore each one. We hope you’ll come along for the ride!