Monday, February 28, 2011

Desire Driven Work

This is the final installment of the Employee Purpose Perspective (EPP). We embarked on this journey together to find relevance between clock punches.

Today we ponder the final step to freedom:
Professional purpose is a willingness to fulfill personal desire

We have talked about engaging your team by making it personal, you have been sequestered to make your work a practice in passion. Yet, fulfilling personal desire through work is a seemingly absurd ideology.

What Does It Mean?

Desire is a drive within you that is of irreplaceable importance: that long term goal, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, your personal 'bucket list' objective. Assume you have made your employer happy, food is on the table, and your career path is secure.

What do you DESIRE?

Maybe it's the opportunity to start your own company, the idea of sailing around the world, or a 1967 cherry red Ford Mustang. You know you don't need any of these things, but when you have given all you can to those who matter, you will need something for yourself. Or will you?

What if every day you received your 'bucket list' rewards. What if right now you could embrace lifetime achievement. What is stopping you from having the life you want? Are you a slave to your lifestyle? Are you drown in expenses? Have you been trained to be afraid to take chances? Have you been following for so long that you forgot how to lead? Are you such a good employee that you have neglected to build your personal irreplaceable talent?

It's never too late to be everything you wish to be in life. It is never too early to start living life in the sunset.

It's not your job that matters, it's how you live your work. It's not your company's duty to inspire is your duty to inspire yourself. Don't wait for instruction, CREATE your

The Employee Purpose Perspective is an Empowered Mission. I came upon it because I lived a life of misery for far too long. I was always uptight, I had a retort to every instruction, I was entitled, I was selfish, I gave advice without being asked, I offered my assistance only to elevate myself, I bitched and complained and made everyone around me miserable. I was not confident, I was afraid. I blamed my inefficiencies on others because I was too afraid to commit to greatness. I wasted the part of my life I should have most enjoyed...locked up in a self-created prison.

I don't want that to happen to you!

Be aware that we condition ourselves to follow the system. To do our work well in an effort to earn more work. Unfortunately, all roads lead only to a wall. We have been conditioned to turn around when we hit the wall and navigate the maze again.


The key to the EPP is to find a way over, around or through the wall. Very few will be willing to break out of their routine to help you get over the wall. You need to get creative in your thinking. To find new ways to do things. To realize that a really a door.

I leave you with 3 ideas to put DESIRE into your work:
Take Action
Find Outside Influence

Act Now, Apologize Later
People want to hire people that they don't have to coddle. If your boss is always telling you how to do your job, you are more of a burden than an asset.

You will always be commended for taking initiative. YOU MUST, however, make sure you do not repeat the same mistake twice.

Bartenders, Baristas and Valets make for great advisers. Don't ever underestimate anyone's advisory ability. Determine your audinece, present your challenges, and chew on it together.

Better to fumble through an idea with your Barber than your boss!

Action without strategy... like swinging at shadows. You have to learn from each and every day. Develop the ability to debrief. Learn from your mistakes, bounce ideas off informal 3rd party advisers...and (most importantly) look deep into YOURSELF to find the answers.

Every day must be capped with a few minutes of silent reflection. Retrace what you have done, why you succeeded, and what you could have done better. Take what you have learned, make it part of tomorrow, and grow from it.

I don't write a blog to improve my resume or enhance my job prospects. This, I do, to help YOU. I don't want you to make the mistakes I have. I want you to recognize your worth and to stick up for yourself. The EPP is designed to help you find meaning in this life, not while you are on vacation, but while you are at work.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, February 25, 2011

YOUR Mission

It's the 6th Installment of the Employee Purpose Perspective (EPP). Thus far, we have introduced the following principles:
Purposeful Intent
Personal Relevance
Unique Value Proposition
Embrace Impossible

Today we ask the question: Is it possible to lead a group of individuals within a common system?

Answer: No!

70% of first time Managers fail. The number one reason Managers fall short is because they fail to engage their workforce. This is because Managers are told to throw a blanket over 10 completely different people and expect consistent results.

Work becomes synonymous with boredom because it is not given applicable relevance. You have team meetings twice a week...why? That's what your employees are asking....why are we here, again..? What's the Purpose?

The answer from the Manager's corner is usually....because....(that's it). It is what it is (the worst phrase ever and an insulting misinterpretation of a Buddhist philosophy). Manager's have their marching orders, they are instructed to bestow them upon their teams, and all march together to increase stock points. Rats in a maze without purpose.

We Can Do Better Than That!

The real question is: What separates Leaders from Managers?

Answer: the ability to give every one of their team members a personal mission.

Jason will have different motivations than Jennifer. We need to invest in understanding individual motivations and help the individuals find purpose. You cannot do that by setting group goals. You have to make THEIR goals ~ YOURS.

Relationships matter most. Relationships take personal investment. Work is seldom personal. Therefore, our investment is not in the PEOPLE that make up the system but the SYSTEM itself. Discard the people and plug into the spreadsheet - Cowardly!

Here's how to get to know your people:

Paul Westerberg, where have you been?
We each have our artist of choice. Let's say you are a die hard Mats fan, if your boss sighted a lyric from Paul Westerberg in a sit down meeting - how much would that mean to you?

I get it, you can't pretend to love something you don't, and pretend it's personal. But the effort to genuinely understand means more than you know.

Boss #1 + Employee A = Two people with common frustrations and a need to make better. Why not talk about it?

I once had a boss who taught me how to be a man. He had been through the ringer, his life was difficult, and he spent countless hours listening to me complain. When he left our company, he told me in honest terms that he thought his advice was lost on me....that hurt.

What does it all mean...
Money isn't everything. You get to a point in your career when you come to understand that. Then what...?

What would you be willing to accept more than dollar bills? To some it means freedom to create their own schedule, for others the opportunity for advancement.

Your challenge is to determine what really matters to your employees, to help them make it part of their life, and to incent their courage accordingly.

Our core values speak to:

...these ideals are something different to everyone.

We spend far too much time convincing others of what WE believe in. Why not invest in THEM and fashion your advising from there?

Micro-Management is dead, the rules are changing, and everyone has options.

Everyone is willing to put money aside to be part of something that they believe in.

All you have to do is understand what makes me, me...and incent accordingly.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Embrace Impossible

It's the 5th Installment of the Employee Purpose Perspective (EPP) and our task today is simple:
Embrace Impossible

When you join a new company the outstanding performer pulls you aside and lets you know, "how things are done around here".

Some see the extending of the olive branch as an honor. Others see proposed limits on the standard for success. It is simple to look at the best, admire their talent and strive to be like them. You can also understand that top performers want to stay at the top and every new team member may serve as a threat to their throne. Don't get me wrong, I despise internal competition, I also dislike the abuse of tenure!

Everyone has a plateau and it is horrifying to see the great fall from grace. Those who cling to the past do so because they have lost their ability to repeat greatness. Allow not proposed limits to keep you from exceeding the norm and redefining the standard. There is nothing impolite about doing the best you can, it helps everyone get better! If ever you are told to 'slow down' you know you have victory in your clutches. Never Slow the standard.

Possibility is merely a metric of what has been. That time is past and there are no limits to where we go from here! If you are willing to accept the norm, you should stay in bed. If you are comfortable playing second fiddle, you shouldn't join the band. You belong on the field not on the bench. Allow no one to set the standard for you.

3 Keys to Achieving the Impossible:
Consider the Source
Give Yourself Credit
Do Not Entitle

The Best?
The team's number one producer is often not the most credible resource. Some people get lucky, others know how to work the system, there are those who use their resources well, and others that are massively disciplined in their approach. There is nothing wrong with succeeding by the means that fit your personality.

Warning: Do not assume 'top producer' means most knowledgeable!

What Got YOU here?
I was once told to go to the team's top producers to understand the formula for success. None of the advice I received made sense. I asked an employee in another department what he thought? He said, "If they define success, you should consider yourself a leader already"!

It made humble in seeking advice but don't take it as gospel. Don't forget who you are, what got you here and the achievements that got you hired. Don't think because you are the 'new girl' that you cannot be a leader.

Round Here....
Titles, tenure and earning statements don't tell the whole story. You do not need a trophy to prove your worth. You don't need to be at the top of the ranking report to know you are great at your job!

Think about who you really want to be and start from there. No one reserves the right to define boundaries for you. Maybe you have failed to establish the success you had five years ago....that does not mean you cannot get back there. Maybe you are the best on the team, that doesn't mean you have plateaued.

Think of your life's greatest achievements, keep them in your heart, and take the Glory back.

There is nothing you cannot achieve if you define, for yourself, what is possible.

When you get to the top of the mountain turn around and do it all over again.

There is no Finish Line!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Unique Value Proposition

It's the 4th installment of the the Employee Purpose Perspective (EPP)...and today we will focus on Creating Unique Value.

What have we learned so far:
Collaborate don't compete
Develop purposeful intent
Create personal relevance

We've discovered the power of collective effort, we have brought purpose to each task and we have personally invested in our work. Now that our intent is genuine we need to create value for those we have asked to take the journey with us.

Work becomes a monotonous grind because we allow it to. When Monday morning comes we hit the snooze button and wish we were training for the x-games. We put on the same shirt, get our usual cup of coffee, listen to the (bad) news on the way to the office, sit at our cubicle and think about 5pm on Friday. Boooring!

The unfortunate thing is that we think in distinct absolutes. It's our 'safe' worklife by day and a super hero existence by night. The work hard/play hard myth we visited a few weeks back. Our fear is that if we take that which we love, and make it part of our work, we will grow to hate it. Work might suck but we can escape to music, literature, or the movie house to level us off. The alarm clock rings, we forget what the movie was about, and head into traffic.

...then we snap. We get to a point of asking ourselves what good the countless work hours have done for the world around us. Another day, another week, another what. We are tempted to quit our job and head for Alaska to work on a fishing boat.

What Are You Running From?

You have to be honest with yourself. YOU allow your day to be boring, YOU allow your job to be a drag, YOU wait to be told what to do and waddle off to do it with your tail between your legs.

You don't have to quit your job, you don't have to picket headquarters, you don't have to take peyote on a mountain top. All you need to do is accept every day as an opportunity to do something totally unique. The number one determinant of what makes you great to everyone around you is what you can do that no one else can. You possess it, you are simply afraid to use it.

What Are You Running To....

Stop hiding from what you dislike and set goals that involve your positive intent. Move forward, don't hide away. Take what you uniquely have and bring it to each and every day with divine passion. This is how you create value for your company, your customers and for yourself.

You are a person not a number, You are a creator not a go prove it!

Create VALUE:
Be Yourself
Step Out on the Ledge
Find The Door

Last Night...
You dazzled your friends with your ideas for organizational improvement over dinner. Today you sit in the conference room silent. What happened?

Assess what you love, take the energy behind it, and make it part of your work day.

If you are an awesome story teller, build a presentation that tells a story for your clients. If you are an incredible athlete, use your competitive drive to motivate your clients.

You don't have to live a double existence. Working hard only to blow off steam does not create need synergy to find a grander purpose.

You have the Conch...
Why do you try to out commoditize your competitors?

You have to bring meaning...a solution to a problem with a unique value. Something only you can create. A piece of YOU in the product or service that meets a need.

Don't be afraid to make a pitch with a bit of uncertainty to it. Uncertainty is an affect of treading in foreign waters. You need to find new frontiers to create irreplaceable value.

YOU know what?
Pretend you know something they don't because you do. That thing which you can bring to a job, company, or partnership that no one else can.

I can show you the box scores but teams need contributions beyond statistics.

Did the Yankees win the game that Derek Jeter jumped into the stands for a fly ball? We don't remember the statistical outcome, we remember the extraordinary effort! If you are able to extend yourself beyond the spreadsheet you bring a new element to the job. If you write a few more lines into the job description you have expanded the possibility of achievement without being asked to.

Don't wait to be asked, make it happen. Assume your opinion is valued and assert yourself. Create something every day. Focus on capabilities, do not let limitations restrain you.

There is no one in the world like YOU! That is why YOU are irreplaceable.

Go Prove It!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Personal Relevance

This is the 3rd installment of the Employee Purpose Perspective (EPP). What have we learned so far?

* Collaboration is better than competition
* One must have purposeful intent to discover a meaningful worklife

We have agreed to find purpose in a common cause. Now it's time to understand the extended relevance of this cause to our livelihood.

The worst advice I ever got was to keep my employees at arms length. I was told not to get too close to my team because it would make leading more difficult. That's hogwash.

I believe forging personal relationships beyond products and services is what turns a company into a culture. By simple premise, if I respect you as a person, I will respect you as a professional. It does not always work the other way.

The person who advised me to keep from engaging my team in my personal life was afraid. She thought revealing her true self made her vulnerable. If you dislike yourself you may assume others will you put up a facade. My contention is that by making ourselves personally available we cross the line from numbers to people and make it personal. Human connection is what makes good companies great.

Even the most strategic facade creators are always revealed. Anyone can put together a company, sign checks and produce profits. People come and go from companies, they stay in cultures of appreciation driven by leaders with Human Connection.

So Let's Get Personal!

I sat with a client a few months back. I advised him how to run his company, he nodded and appreciated the advice. After enduring my professional bravado he asked me where I lived. I told him and returned the question. For the next half hour he told me a story of his house burning down and the uncertainty of 2 hours away from his children after hearing of the fire. A humanizing story. I will never forget this man!

We walk in and out of buildings, file contracts, make copies, shake hands, smile and give advice. But, without getting to the center of people's being we cannot form lasting connections. Without lasting connections we commoditize our relationships. If our relationships are commodities they are easily replaced by the next thing with a smaller price tag.

Think about the best boss you ever had. My guess is that he/she was a better friend than an advisor. We learn from our mistakes, but we do not want to be consistently reminded of our inefficiencies. Think about the best customer you ever had. My guess is the personal connection was more important than products and services. You could probably speak in honest terms to this person when your product failed. If expertise is all you have, and your product fails, your credibility is shot.

Why are we afraid to admit we are fallible? Why are we surprised that we are easily replicable if we do not have personal connections. You are a person not a number. You have a unique presence that no training course or product knowledge can replace.

Your unique, differentiating skills are what make you indispensable. Why would you be afraid to reveal them.

If I know a man has no home to return to, I will strive to make his worklife easier!

Revealing your personality in your professional life is an element of personal security. If you think in opposite terms, you are a replicable commodity.

Make It Personal!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Purposeful Intent

Last week we introduced The Employee Purpose Perspective (EPP). Today's Second Installment of the EPP examines Purposeful Intent. You may ask yourself, "are not purpose and intent of the same ideology?". They are exactly not....which introduces our problem. Too often we are given a directive, which formulates our purpose, and we perform said directive...without intent.

This makes our lives a collection of meaningless tasks between clock punches. This is a waste!

What's Your Purpose?

Next week we will examine the inability of most organizations to bring meaning to the never ending task list. Today, I am going to ask you to define purpose for yourself. You cannot rely on your organization to assign Purposeful Intent, so you have to create it.

When you develop the ability to find personal meaning in every chore you free yourself to choose the life you wish to have.

It is a fairly simple process: When assigned a task ask yourself is what it means to you...and prioritize accordingly.

We have seen studies that convey that 70% of all workers are actively disengaged. That's probably a low estimate and the premise could be flawed. If we are honest with ourselves we have to admit that our company will open the doors, turn on the computers and supply some coffee. The rest is up to you. I repeat...

The Rest Is Up To You!

There is no such thing as the perfect job. Every company has people who have become irrelevant and seek to destroy the ambition of the optimistic. But, we don't need to sell our belongings and journey to Alaska to find our purpose.

We find ourselves caught up in the myth of work hard, play hard. That we have the determination at work to win and then we take off our tie and escape to lunacy. This creates a double life: stress out and decompress. Make money, spend it and hide in your cubicle until the hangover subsides.

There is one absolute in every day: If you think today will suck, it will! If you find the ability to put your energy into that which matters you will be 100 times happier at work.

Here's how you can develop Purposeful Intent:
Avert Your Ego
Set Sensible Priorities
Have a Back Up Plan

Leave it!
Every task will take twice as long if you are intent on having your way. How our egos drive our goals and how silly that is. We have calls about calls, meetings about meetings and the only reason for this is so someone can receive confirmation that their opinion is valued....who gives a shit!

You will be amazed how much less stress exists in your day when you stop caring about having your name on the slide show. Let the insecure fisherman cast their dwindling line...and keep feeding them bait.

Your opinions will not be missed, you will spend less time doing things you wish not to, and you can get on with what actually matters.

Get Over It!
"I just want to get it over with" - this premise means you don't want to do it, so why do it? When someone tells you they are too busy it means they are willing to do a bunch of things that are not applicable to their grandiose intent. More precious living moments wasted! some point you have to push back and just not do it!

Playing With the House's Money
Fact: if you have 100 prospects in your pipeline you will not care if one of them goes in another direction.
Fact: the mundane tasks of your job are avoidable if you don't care about losing your job.

I mean not to inspire a careless fact, the opposite.

You can perform your job the way you want based on what is important to you. If you are genuinely great at what you do, your company will value your personal intent to empower organizational success. And if they don't, someone else will.

Our problem is that we forget our awesomeness...and we let others pretend to determine it for us.

Don't Undervalue Your Existence...Determine YOUR Worth...and Let That Drive You!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Welcome to the first installment of the Employee Purpose Perspective. This is a 7 part blog series that will challenge you to breath the winds of change into your organization. has become one of the most profitable companies in the world over the last five years. The interesting thing about is that they have developed camaraderie in the cloud. First, they developed a world class CRM tool, then they invited potential competitors to create apps to compliment their service suite.

Imagine industry leader focused on collaboration not competition...?

In the advent of social media we have seen a shift from company logos to personal brands. We have found ways to share ideas instead of locking them away. An individual (who may not have a leadership position within the walls of their company) has an opportunity to reach far more people through their blog, twitter or facebook page.

We drive ourselves nuts worrying about the competition. What if that didn't matter? What if we could work freely without paranoia of giving away secrets? What if we could look our competitors in the eye and say, "this is what we do, try to stop us". What if we could coexist in an industry space without having blood money circumstance? My contention is that the transparency of open business practices forces us to have better customer service, better relationships and tailored solutions. We are not fighting for the same customers, we are developing lifelong partnerships. There is no blood in the water because we are all sailing in our own direction.

Companies like LinkedIn and Zappos have created a space on Twitter to address customer issues. Completely out in the open. It would seem that you would have to have great confidence in your customer service to open a complaint file for millions to view. Either that, or you are willing to share the hiccups and your ability to cure them. Honesty driving business efficiency....another shocking development!

There are 3 Principles to Collaboration:
1. Shared Vision
2. Profitability
3. Rewarded Resource Allocation

Everyone wants to work with the Fortune 500. If you run a 5 employee start up, you may not have the bandwidth to service GE. 'Tis better to understand your limitations than to drain the bucket pretending it can contain a big fish.

Would you rather spend all day trying to please one customer or service 100 customers with organic efficiency?

Our most difficult customers are difficult because we bent over backward pretending we could please them...and have been performing back flips ever since.

Thank You is a great thing to hear. Great expectations and their according challenges are any customer's right to business elevation. But, this has to be an empowered process. If you are always asking for more by the entitlement of a paid invoice, you are missing the point of partnership. Say Thank You after every challenge is over come....and learn to forgive if the effort is there and human error wins over once in a while.

The first step in making the career you want out of the job you have is finding the right customers. If you force partnerships you will....drain your resources, piss off your co-workers, spend your days checking your phone and spend your nights awake.

Define your target market and utilize your time accordingly!

Don't Forget to Remember!