Does the work I do make sense? I have this tough question in mind since a coaching session a couple of years ago. Let’s try to put words on this.
I see two concepts the sense of work gathers. The first one is more relative to our day to day vision. The importance we give to the company values, the cooperation with our teammates and the missions we have to accomplish. Do you take pleasure doing your job day after day? Are you challenged by these missions? Do you evolve in this environment and make your team grow? are several questions that can help understand your satisfaction level about this concept. I would name it the sense of accomplishment.
Following this coaching session, I took a step back and started looking at the second concept. The importance of the company activity as a whole. Does the purpose of my day to day work make sense for me? Does it have an impact on values I believe in? It’s what I call the sense of purpose.
The hardest question
I’ve always found a lot of passion in the first concept. As an engineer or an executive manager, through the several positions I have acted for, I have always believed in what I did. And I used to share this feeling with my teams doing my best to get them part of these projects. I feel accomplished.
“You are now 70 years old, and you are talking to your grandchild about what you have done in your life. What would you be proud to share?”
This is a question I was asked during a coaching session. Let’s say that it had a huge impact on me and opened my mind on the second concept with another angle. I think it was the hardest question I was asked for. The professional life take an important part of our time, a very large part. And this question is over the mission of the company you work for. It’s about the sense its missions, about the things you believe in in your personal life. Does it make sense to accomplish this? A bit more difficult when you really try the exercise to explain it to your future grandchild, with its kid eyes…
At this time, the highest stage of the maslow pyramide take a greater dimension. A link tends to appear between the professional accomplishment and the deepest personal values. The satisfaction and the pleasure to deliver what your customers were expected, the sense of belonging developed by the relationships created with your teammates around a common objective. These are part of the first concept, the sense of accomplishment. I would add now the following question to reach the second one, the sense of purpose: Would I be proud of what I’ve achieved?
This is not only important for us as an individual, but also in a more collaborative way. The sense you give to your teams. As we all have a different identity, a different life thread, it’s essential to know what matters to our collaborators to make them feel engaged. Not only to the day to day work, but also to the purpose of what they are working for.