Do You Find Your Work Fulfilling?

In a company without purpose, people have only a vague idea of why they are do what do. There’s always activity and busyness, but it’s often frenetic, disorganized and focused solely on short-term goals or finances. There is often a lack of direction and commitment without purpose or ‘we are doing this for the sake of what?’.

Top executives erroneously look to the competition when making decisions, rather than making up their own minds about what really matters. Their lack of clarity leads to poor business decisions, failed product launches and disengaged employees.

“Across organizations, nearly every survey suggests that the vast majority of employees don’t feel fully engaged at work, valued for their contributions, or freed and trusted to do what they do best,” reports Tony Schwartz in a recent  HBR.org blog post. “Instead, they feel weighed down by multiple demands and distractions, and they often don’t derive much meaning or satisfaction from their work. That’s a tragedy for millions of people and a huge lost opportunity for organizations.”

Absence of Full Engagement

Simply put, satisfied and engaged employees perform better. In a Towers Watson study of roughly 90,000 employees across 18 countries, companies with the most engaged employees reported a 19% increase in operating income and 28% growth in earnings per share. Companies whose employees had the lowest level of engagement had a 32% decline in operating income and an 11% drop in earnings.

People take pleasure in being engaged in meaningful work. Humans, by nature, are a passionate species, and most of us seek out inspiring experiences. Companies that recognize this and actively cultivate and communicate a worthwhile corporate purpose become employers of choice.

A major Gallup Organization research study identified 12 critical elements for creating highly engaged employees. About half deal with employees’ sense of belonging. One of the key criteria is captured in the following statement: “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.”

After basic needs are fulfilled, an employee searches for meaning in a job. People seek a higher purpose, something in which to believe, to contribute to the greater good. If, in your role as a leader, you aren’t articulating what you care about and how you plan to make a difference, then you probably aren’t inspiring full engagement.

In the work I do, this is a major concern for people: they either aren’t sure what it is that their own true purpose is, and/or their not sure what their organization’s is. Coaching is designed to help people find the connection between job requirements and fulfillment and meaning.

If you aren’t clear, ask your coach for help in finding answers. And if you need help in finding the right coach, let me know.

How to Get the Most “People Power” from Your Conference (Part 2)

Introduction from Part One posted yesterday: 

This may happen naturally…or not at all. So, what can you do to pave the way for conference success? Here are some tips for making the most of your experience, maximizing its value through personal contacts.  (Be sure and check the first tips in yesterdays post!) 

7. Don’t be afraid to ask people to remind you of their name if you think you may know them. They will be glad you did, as they may not remember yours and feel too embarrassed to ask.  Always make notes on the back of business cards so you don’t forget what you talked about, which facilitates following up.

8. Ask questions. Invite others to describe their businesses. Find out whether they’re enjoying the conference, what they’ve learned and their recommendations on the best sessions. Everyone attending a conference has opinions, so solicit them.

9. When asked about your job, explain it in terms of how you help people. Forget the canned elevator pitch, and don’t try to sell anything.  You’re building a relationship, and you’re best served by speaking about the issues with which people struggle. Focus on them first — not you and what you do.

10.Build credibility and trust. Develop a comfort level with those around you. Humor helps (if you’re good with it), but avoid sarcasm and negativity.

 11. Withhold judgment. Never make assumptions based on dress, age, hair color or other physical attributes, especially if you work in a field of online professionals. You never know who you’ll “dismiss.”

12. Smile and look interested in others — even when you’re tired and suffering from conference overload. Other attendees are likely experiencing the same burnout. Share these feelings to connect.

13.Send a postcard within 48 hours to remind fellow attendees that you’ve met. Include a personal note about something they said or that occurred. If you intend to call them, let them know. Then call when you say you will. Send a second card 7–10 days later. Your objective: to build a relationship.

14.Be clear about the specific actions you want people to take. Explain how their actions will benefit them (or both of you). Always address “what’s in it for them,” and be sure to provide an easy way for them to respond. 

After a conference, many people return to their offices inspired and motivated, only to feel inert and overwhelmed after settling into their routines.  Maintaining your energy and inspiration is much easier if you follow up and reconnect with those you’ve met.

How to Get the Most “People Power” from Your Conference (Part 1)

Most people have a certain number of conferences and trade shows they must attend during the year. Attitudes can range from “have to go” to “want to go.” If you’re an extrovert, chances are you’ll welcome the opportunity to socialize and connect with other people. And if you’re an introvert, you’ll likely struggle to stay focused as you contend with sensory overload.  Regardless of personality type, time spent at a conference is a waste if you fail to remain “plugged in” and follow up with contacts when you return home. 

It’s not really about the number of business cards you collect or how much you network. Your goal is to develop relationships with potential colleagues and clients. 

In today’s fast-paced business environment, social contacts often generate new business opportunities. Once you open up to people and connect, you unleash creative energy and power. 

This may happen naturally…or not at all. So, what can you do to pave the way for conference success? Here are some tips for making the most of your experience, maximizing its value through personal contacts. 

1.Be identifiable. Make sure your name badge is easily seen by others. You may have to attach it near your collar or face so others aren’t forced to scan your entire body to locate the end of a lanyard. Secure it so it doesn’t twist or dangle backward.

2.Be identifiable, part 2. Bring your own button or name tag, to be worn alongside the event’s name badge. (Nothing wrong with overkill here.) This serves as a conversation starter. Placing an unusual title after your name, such as Chief Idea Person or Chief Implementer, often spurs people to ask questions about your job.

3.Be identifiable, part 3. Hand out biz cards to everyone you meet — right away — and ask for theirs. If you wait, a distraction may preempt contact. Of course, be sure you have plenty of cards on hand.

4.Be bold. Don’t wait! Take the lead and introduce yourself to people at your table, in line or wherever you’re waiting. You never know who you’ll meet!

(A note of caution: We don’t advise doing this in the bathroom line, as people aren’t relaxed when they’re on a mission. Use nonverbal cues to determine how open people are to a “meet- and-greet.”)

5.Be prepared with a gift or handout. If available, bring a CD or booklet that contains information about you — something of value that demonstrates your knowledge. If you’ve written a book, hand out copies to special people with whom you have a connection.

6.Get other people’s biz cards. Ask if you can email them. Ezines are a great way to follow up after a conference, but don’t add anyone to your subscriber list without securing permission.

 You can write: “Here’s that report I was telling you about. If you’d like more information, we have an ezine. You can subscribe by clicking here…”

Come back to this blog tomorrow for more tips and the conclusion.