Satisfaction through Meaningfulness

While science can’t seem to prove a causal link between happy workers and productivity, it’s nice to know that there are benefits beyond that to justify to leaders everywhere that we have to design work to be more satisfying for our workforce.

I read a research report from Accenture that said more than half of business professionals report they are dissatisfied with their jobs. (See http://newsroom.accenture.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=5163).

In a better economy, I reckon many of them would walk. Companies are already scrambling to attract the professional talent they need. If we can’t reverse this satisfaction trend, this problem will compound and result in more offshoring of professional and service jobs.

So what satisfies people on the job? A lot of folks say “money” right off the bat, but that’s not true. The people in the survey did report that one thing that made them dissatisfied was they thought they were underpaid. Pay is a dissatisfier, not a satisfier. (Herzberg called these kinds of things hygiene factors.). If the only reason you go to work is for the paycheck, that’s a pretty sad work experience, and one we need to change.

Three key things make work and life satisfying: meaningfulness, awareness, and responsibility. I’ll write up more on each of these in the coming days with a simple, practical approach for improving them for your workforce. -DSV

The Unlikely Leader

I’ve been digging through old posts and found this one and believe it is still particularly relevant. I hope you agree.

August 29, 2009. I was at my surrogate grandmother’s funeral yesterday, reflecting on her stories and on those others told about her. I never really thought of her as a leader, only as my grandmother. But she touched so many lives, and I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about her, except herself, and then only in a story about her own mother.

On the drive home, I thought about her as a servant. And how, as a servant, she led so many people to do so many things. What we focused on yesterday was her discipleship. How many people were led to Christ as a result of interacting with her? Her greatest gift might be her ability to tell a story, and how she could draw you in to her story and keep you there, engaged, excited, waiting anxiously for the next word. But I think also that her gentle disposition and her kindness created the right storytelling environment.

How can leaders in all walks of life learn from that small point?

It isn’t the story you’re telling. It’s the person telling the story. Be the right kind of person – a servant – and your stories will matter and people will learn. -DSV