The Value of Work: What-How-Why


Will you help me shovel sand today? If I asked you that question, unless you were related to me or being paid by me, you probably wouldn't be up for the task. If I  mentioned you'd have great equipment, a fun team, and work under a standard of  "excellence and integrity,"  your enthusiasm probably wouldn't change. However, if I said the reason I needed you to shovel sand was to create a wall of sandbags and save a town/school/home from being flooded from a rising river, you would likely show up.

The reason or the "why" would make all the difference.

Think of it this way - every job has three parts to it:

Part One:  WHAT we do on the job This is our job description, a task list, the "to do" or "deliverables" that our companies and bosses expect from us.

Part Two:  HOW we do our job This part of the job are all of the values and culture surrounding our work. Our tasks are x/y/z, but how do we get there? We do so by valuing each other, working smart, demonstrating integrity, etc.

Part Three: WHY we do our job The final part of every job is the most difficult to explain because it assigns purpose to work.  WHY we do the work we do  is THE motivating force for people in their jobs.

Shoveling sand isn't EVER going to get people out of bed and excited. However, being part of a goal bigger than themselves IS motivating.

When you are leading people, always make sure you're addressing all three parts of their job. People will come to work for a pay check, and they won't get discouraged if the culture is great, but what makes people go above and beyond their task list is knowing that what they are doing is part of a higher purpose.

Do you know your purpose?  And, especially if you're a leader,  are you addressing the "why" with your team?