Switch & Shift’s Meaningful Work Carnival

Should work add value to our lives? Should it matter? I suppose some would answer no to either question. Afterall, isn’t work something we do to make ends meet? That’s not the view we take at Switch & Shift. Our belief is that work should add value to the lives of employees – at any level for any role. Imagine if work was a meaningful contribution to your life. Imagine if when you arrived at work you got to unleash your talents; explore your ideas with others who are curious to explore what’s possible. Imagine being energized by your work. These things are all possible when work is meaningful to each of us.

With this in mind, we asked for bloggers, writers and practitioners to share their best on the topic of meaningful work. Thus, we bring to you our first carnival. While carnival seems an odd title, it includes insightful, provocative and curiosities that delight the mind. Perhaps these are the reasons why it’s a carnival; don’t carnivals delight and evoke curious minds to wonder? Perhaps I’m reading too much into the term. Nonetheless, we have a hearty thank you to all who have submitted their writing for this carnival. On with the show . . .

John Richard Bell from In the CEO Afterlife shares that the times have changed, but the business tools that determine success or failure have not. Those that thrive go beyond leadership, strategy, and execution; they breathe culture. Culture is another way of saying, “meaningful work, well done” throughout the company. More here: In Praise of Averages Joes.

Keith Coats from New World of Work shares that not many people can say “I love what I do”. People who do love what they do, do what they do much better than those that don’t.  This, therefore, should be at the heart of what leaders aim to achieve for themselves and their teams: a sense of vocation. More here: Your Real Work as a Leader: A Sense of Vocation.

Graeme Codrington from New World of Work says that creating meaningful work means seeing the world of work through the eyes of others, and helping them to achieve their personal goals and aspirations at work.  Of course, each person is an individual.  But we can generalize in some ways about what people might be looking for: gender, race, culture all play a part.  And so does age and generation.  This extract from my book, “Mind the Gap” offers a brief overview of what will make for meaningful work for different generations. More here: The Meaning of Work for Different Generations.

Meaningful work stirs up internal satisfaction through doing the work and releasing it for others to benefit and experience. While meaningful work is experienced at an individual level, its power is fully unleashed when it’s a characteristic of workplace or team culture.

Randy Conley from Leading With Trust shares that helping people find a sense of belonging leads to them being fully engaged and committed to their work and the organization. In this post, Randy shares five key strategies leaders can use to create a workplace where meaningful work thrives and flourishes. More here: Five Ways Leaders Help Other Belong, Not Just Fit In.

Deb Lavoy from Jostle Blog celebrates why ‘people’ matter in the workplace. It has finally been proved – what everyone already knew is true – employees who give a darn do better work, which makes their lucky employers more successful. More here: The Human Enterprise: Progress or Perish.

Don Maruska and Jay Perry from Take Charge of Your Talent share how meaningful work arises when people shift from being victims of their circumstances to becoming heroes of their talent in action. As people align their hopes and their actions, they engage their self-motivation and create meaning in their work. More here: Be the Hero of your Talent Story.

Deborah Mills-Scofield from Mills-Scofield LLC shares that most people think of Venture Capitalists as in it for the money, and that is indeed a reason. But there are many of us who are in it because it makes a very real and powerful difference in lives and that provides a joy and rationale beyond the dollars. More here: Why Am I a VC?

The future of work includes finding meaning in what you do, with whom you do it, and how and where you do your work. It’s a belief that work has significance in a larger context and its meaning is understood and believed by those doing the activities.

Our very own Shawn Murphy detailed 11 Characteristics of Meaningful Work. Meaningful work is the perceived positive value of the work, as viewed by the employees. Be sure to read this required post if you are at all interested in helping meaningful work emerge.

Kate Nasser from Smart SenseAbilities Blog shares that employees define meaningful work very personally — “how do my talents fit the mission and goals”. When business owners and leaders tap and honor those individual talents, employees know their work has meaning and that they matter. This is employee engagement in action. More here: 25 Incredibly Valuable Things to Be at Work Instead of Leader.

Our very own, Achim Nowak  pleads to the human workforce to close the generational gap between Millennials and Boomers. Instead of focusing on generational differences, let us champion more essential conversations about how we foster and enhance meaningful engagement at work. More here: Closing the Generational Platitude Gap.

Sarah Kathleen Peck from It Starts With asks “Are you in the right job?” She shares a cheat-sheet that exploded around the internet that focuses on a few simple but powerful reflection questions to discover: Are you where you want to be? More here: The One-Page Career Cheat Sheet.

Meaningful work arises when people shift from being victims of their circumstances to becoming heroes of their talent in action. – Don Maruska & Jay Perry

Dr. Janice Presser shares that we have an obligation to be our best selves, and at work, we are at our best when we do work that is personally meaningful and satisfying. That right and that obligation are deeply embedded in our membership in an organized society where we continually influence each other’s experience. More here: Do it for the Team.

William Powell from The Leadership Advisor Blog shares how we develop culture to achieve certain goals and create an environment that is pleasant AND meets organizational goals. We begin that process with assumptions and these assumptions affect the quality and effectiveness of our cultures. More here: Why Our View Of Work Impacts Company Culture.

Allison Rimm from Joy Strategies shares when we approach work from a sense of purpose, we are able to find deep meaning, fulfillment and satisfaction. Read how I was lucky to encounter an extraordinary bus driver on a personal mission to deliver his passengers safely and quickly to their destination and decide for yourself how he views what others might consider his boring and repetitive job. More here: The Route Out of Your Rut: A Bus Driver’s Tale.

Lisa Shelley from Perspectives on Leadership shares “I believe that we are all wired to wake up at some point and ask ourselves that existential question, ‘What’s it all about?’ From this point forward we realize that our best work, and play, occurs when we feel a deep connection and sense of purpose behind our actions – leaders that understand and facilitate this fundamental human need will be rewarded with a highly passionate and engaged workforce.” More here: Three Things Your Employees Need From You.

Richard Sheridan from Menlo Innovations shares how joy at Menlo Innovations is knowing that the software we create is widely adopted and enjoyably used by our clients’ intended end users. Stories like the one shared in this post confirm that the work we do is meaningful and has significant impact in the lives of others. More here: Practical Joy.

Frank Sonnenberg from FrankSonnenbergOnline.com shares that even though some people reached success beyond their wildest dreams, they still have an empty feeling. Success in life begins with purpose. More here: Living Life With a Purpose.

Dana Theus from InPower Consulting, Inc. shares that we all serve many people in our work – our customers, our employees, our families, ourselves, our investors, our partners. When our work helps these important people grow – meaning, “become capable of more” which can be measured financially and otherwise – we know that our work has meaning. One of the best ways to find meaning is to see how your own personal development as a leader can make new kinds of success possible – for everyone. More here: How Being a Working Mother Made Me A Better Leader.

We also have an obligation to be our best selves, and at work, we are at our best when we do work that is personally meaningful and satisfying. That right and that obligation are deeply embedded in our membership in an organized society where we continually influence each other’s experience. – Dr. Janice Presser

Ellen Weber from Brain Leaders and Learners shares that work grows meaningful when people pull together to open innovative places for mutual benefits. When individuals and teams build the kind of trust that cultivates originality – we find purpose, passion and wellbeing at work. More here: Your Brain on Innovation.

Chris Westfall from Westfall Online shares when you know that feeling – when you’re focused so much on achievement, that you forget about what really matters?  Maybe it’s time to concentrate on something other than just your goals – here’s a fresh perspective for Type-A leaders. More here: How Setting Goals Can Set You Back.

Meaningful work is not a nice to have, but an essential outcome to engage employees and influence greater results.

 

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Image credit: aceshot / 123RF Stock Photo

For your enjoyment, occasionally our team will collectively author about topics that pique our curiosities. Follow us on Twitter @switchandshift

  • I am surprised that no one really addressed the leader, the boss or the CEO. In my experience, work becomes meaningful for almost everyone when the leader treats employees in such a way that they feel greatly respected and highly valued.

  • I am surprised that no one really addressed the leader, the boss or the CEO. In my experience, work becomes meaningful for almost everyone when the leader treats employees in such a way that they feel greatly respected and highly valued.

  • I am surprised that no one really addressed the leader, the boss or the CEO. In my experience, work becomes meaningful for almost everyone when the leader treats employees in such a way that they feel greatly respected and highly valued.

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