"Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I'm doing." –Phil Jackson, successful basketball coach, writer and zen master
Do Mr. Jackson's words ring true? Would it be more meaningful to replace the word "Winning" with "Profits?" Would you continue to devote your life to fabrication if profits were your only reward? Many small business owners and managers would never sacrifice their blood, sweat and tears if financial gain was all they got from their careers. In fact, these bosses work as hard as they do and go that extra mile because of the special engagement they feel to their craft and to their company.
Phil Jackson calls it joy. It might not be easy to get an admission of joy out of them on a double-overtime, emergency installation for a kitchen photo shoot, but if you listen closely as the boss shares the story of that late night mad rush, you will hear an engaging tale of creativity, challenges met and conquered, teamwork, last-second miracles and impressed clients.
Get A Job, Get A Life!
Anthropologists, psychologists and behavioral scientists believe that human beings are all built pretty much the same way. We have similar dreams, fears and needs, and the connection we share is not invalidated by differences. The new guy earning close to minimum wage is motivated in much the same way as the woman supervising production or the boss supervising everything. The vast majority of people need fulfilling work to help bring meaning to their lives. The existential bottom line is we all want work that puts us "in the zone."
We all want engagement, and, in the course of a single lifetime, work has gone from the state of necessary burden to the realm of self-actualization, expression and fulfillment. With the possibilities of where work can take you and what work can bring you now radically transformed, we have the ability to job hunt as if we were carefully seeking out a lifelong spouse.
William Shakespeare summed up the experience of small business ownership perfectly when the title character in his historic tragedy "Henry IV," exclaimed "Heavy is the head that wears the crown." Surely, the duties of the crown can be gargantuan, but they often come with some special (and rarely discussed) benefits which include heading the actual development of the organization and the customization of the owner's own specific responsibilities. If done well, a highly engaging position will be crafted as a tonic for the long hours and big worries. As a result, owners get a personal turbo-charging from the culture of engagement they design and their performance and satisfaction immediately improve.
The studies have been done and, not surprisingly, employment engagement is found to be a key driver for total organizational success. High levels of engagement forge a tremendous competitive advantage by promoting the retention of a firm's talented performers and fostering record levels of customer loyalty.
Does Medical Insurance Cover 'The Warm & Fuzzies?'
Do you cringe at the thought of increasing your emotional intelligence yet again? Are you pining for the days when questioning management's judgment was a terminable offense and insight into workplace behavior and motivation topped out when Packer's coach Vince Lombardi's halftime speeches were put on management's must-read list? You just may have a case of "The Warm & Fuzzies." If so, then as someone concerned with your success, I kindly ask you to swallow that last bit of pride and ego and check the stadium scoreboard — Coach Lombardi's play-through-the pain, tough guys are getting hammered by a tea-sipping team of extra happy workers whose boss is busy complimenting them on their needle point.
To paraphrase a certain Southern campaign manager, "It's the people, stupid." Get that right and you win. The challenge is fully engaging your people . . . capturing their minds and hearts (and sometimes their wallets) at each stage of their work lives. If the Warm & Fuzzies to still plague you, then you'll just have to courageously withstand the sight of your employees praising you and rallying together to ensure your financial success.