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Being Great at Work!

I recently had the privilege of hearing Dr. Tim Irwin speak at an event where I served as the Master of Ceremony/Speaker. Tim has interviewed over 10,000 people in his career as an organizational psychologist and as an international consultant. He made this amazing statement, “I have never interviewed or talked with anyone who did not have, at their core, a desire to be great.” His observation is that everyone is passionate about something and I would concur.

Each day most Americans get up and go to jobs where they have no passion. As a consequence, they will not achieve greatness. On average, they will spend 60-65% of their waking hours toiling at jobs where they have no sense of engagement. Gallup did a study a few years ago where they interviewed 1.7 million workers representing 77,000 companies and/or divisions. They asked the question, “Are you engaged in your job?” The response was startling in the level of honesty and the state of affairs in American business:

  • 55% felt no degree of engagement or sense of passion for their jobs.
  • 16% responded that not only were they not engaged in their jobs, they described themselves as actively disengaged. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, calls these people, OBT – On-Board Terrorists. They work for you but they are attempting to blow up the company by disrupting the culture of the organization.

Add up the two statistics and you get a 71% disconnect rate – meaning that only 29% of workers have any degree of passion for their jobs. It is impossible to have greatness when your passion is at room temperature.

So, how can you be great at your job?

  1. Find the work where your skills and the world’s needs intersect and you will find passion.
  2. If you are in job that you do not like, do your best work anyway and your day will come.
  3. Being great in your work means that you have discovered meaning in the work that you do each day.
  4. Focus on the meaning of your work and you will operate at your highest and best rather than your lowest and least.
  5. Being great at your job happens when you become more concerned about your contributions rather than your rewards.

If you are an employer, remember: People will work harder for meaning than they ever will for money!

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