Showing posts with label Mensch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mensch. Show all posts

November 16, 2019

Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, "Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch."
The Rabbi asked why did Hashem who is omnipotent even need to create us? And he answered because in G-d being the ultimate good, He “had to create us”—this in essence being the ultimate expression of good by sharing that goodness with us to learn and be good as well. In short, what could be a greater good than extending that opportunity to be be good to others.

Like our forefather, my Hebrew name is Avraham, and for me personally, this has been a critical life lesson: learning to see challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, and consistently be a person that tries to do what is right even when it is hard or the lines seem to be grey. In the end, I believe that G-d put us in this world in order for us to choose good over evil and demonstrate kindness to others. With the Torah as our blueprint, and Avraham, our forefather, as our role model, we must apply the great teachings of the Torah and always strive to act as a proper mensch!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 12, 2019

Bookmarks From Israeli Stamps


So this guy in my Ulpan class brought in these bookmarks for us that he makes.

He takes these Israeli stamps like the one for Judges of Israel and Social Welfare for the people, laminates them, punches a hole and strings it. 

And voila, these cool bookmarks from Israel.

We had just learned the Hebrew word for bookmark and he thought to bring these in for the class.

He was so nice that even though he couldn't make the last classes before the Summer recess, he dropped these off with the teacher for us

Some people are real mensches, and these are the people I personally appreciate.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 18, 2019

When People Can't Admit They're Wrong

So he's a story from the pool today...

I'm doing my laps minding my own business.

And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.

Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 

I'm doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:

- At his end of the pool 

- ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool

- With earplugs

- AND even underwater

And he goes on and on and on. 

Doesn't stop for even a breath of air. 

Now, in all the years swimming, I've never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.

BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.

I waited until he finished his call. 

And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 

I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 

I have to pass him on the way out. 

And I'm still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 

My head is still throbbing from his yelling.

I stop in front of his chair. 

Now he's pulled out a book and is trying to read. 

I say:
Excuse me.
He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 

I say again:
Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?

He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:
What's the problem?

So I say:
You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 

He's agitating now and he says:
Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn't hear well.  You get it?

So I say respectfully:
I am sorry that he doesn't hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 

Then he says:
So what--I don't care if everyone hears.

I try one more time.
Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim--do you at all care?

He still can't get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 
Well. I'll do whatever I want!

Now, I've had enough, and I say:
So basically you don't give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?

Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:
Next time he calls me, I'll take the conversation inside!

At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 

It took all that just to get him to say he'll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!

It's amazing--some people really just can't own up to when they are being a jerk.

But I was glad this guy finally came around--maybe there is still hope. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 10, 2018

On Time Is Late

Smart saying I heard today on time management:
Early is on time.
On time is late.
Late is unacceptable.
Having grown up in a very precise environment,  I can certainly appreciate this. 

Seriously, from a Yekke (Jewish German background), we were taught to be 15 to 30 minutes early--i.e. on time--for everything. 

I remember starting to get "little" reminders to get ready and get out the door well in advance and numerous times before the clock struck. 

Fashionably late or any other type is not in the vocabulary and frankly is a complete f*ckin insult. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 16, 2017

The Folly of Bullies

So there is an issue with people not treating other people with respect and dignity in life and at work.

Today again, the Wall Street Journal reported that "Companies Wake Up To The Problem of Bullies at Work."

This is leading some organizations to issue "Codes of Civility" for people to act like mensches and treat each other nicely. 

Adults are just so like children--with work bullies not all that different from schoolyard bullies.

Why do people need to elevate themselves on the backs of others? 

Isn't it better to join hands and work together as brothers for the betterment of all.

Bullying anyone at work or at home doesn't benefit anyone, including the bully!

I read today in Psalms 37: 35-36:
"I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like a green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was not; I sought him, but he could not be found 
[But] Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace."
How can people forget that the true "big boss" is G-d Almighty in Heaven.

And He judges us for a good or not so good end. 

We are all just flesh and blood and we all answer to the One That Was, Is, and Will Always Be!

Isn't it obvious that we're here to learn to act with lovingkindness to one another.

All are imperfect, but treating each other well is how we get closer to G-dly perfection. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 15, 2017

Better A Mensch Than Money

Here is a lesson that I learned when it comes to love...

Better a mensch than all the money in the world.

Some people think that money is their Golden Calf.

They literally and practically worship it.

They are so greedy for it, hoard it, protect it, and believe in the power of it.

But what I say is you can choke on all the money!

Those who put the emphasis on money are sick and empty with materialism that means nothing in the end.

Better the love of a good, decent human being and best friend than all the money in China.

For money you can buy lots of meaningless things, but with a mensch you can have a potential for a life of real togetherness and even a chance at some soulful bliss.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 26, 2016

The Nature of Charisma

So what's with charisma?

Is it like they say, either you have it or you don't?

The power of personality, your energy, your aura, your chemistry, your strength in connecting with others, your ability to influence people and to move them in thought and deed.

Truly, for some people, you would follow them into the battlefield or the boardroom.

And for others, you know they're no good and you'd probably just as soon do the opposite of what they say since you don't believe in them and what they stand for.

Today, I was expecting to see a special chabad Rabbi in Florida, but they were up in NY--I missed them having not seen them for many months.

I was disappointed, even though I really enjoyed the other people and the services that I attended. 

Some people...there is a magic to them...a genuineness, a warmth, a centeredness, with certain integrity, and driven to something greater. 

We need people like this in our life.  

Of course, we have G-d, always.

But we also need other human beings that move us.

People with charisma often make awesome leaders. 

It not about them remember, but rather about the mission they and we are on together. 

And being a mensch to other people. 

A real smile, a warm embrace, a kind word, a caring nature, a giving soul, a person with belief, someone who can inspire and motivate.

These people are rare, but when you find them, they are gems.

They are a blessing among us.

The last thing we need though is a false messiah, but rather the real McCoy to work with us to reach new heights of greatness, achievement, and happiness in life.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 4, 2016

Manage As A Mensch

So I was watching Shark Tank and they gave an update on how one of the products, "Mensch on a Bench," is doing.

It's selling in Bed, Bath, and Beyond and has exceeded 100,000 units already!

Aside from the doll and book, they are working on Mensch apps, activity kits, and candy bars. 

The founder said, "It is hilarious and heartwarming to see all the different ways that families can incorporate Mensches into their lives."

This got me thinking about how being a mensch can also be incorporated into being a great manager!

- Treating people decently and fairly

- Empowering them to do their jobs well

- Empathizing with them as human beings

- Appreciating the power of diversity

- Respecting everyone and their points of view

- Recognizing and rewarding a job well done

Unfortunately, there are too many bad bosses out there that micromanage and abuse their people. 

They are arbitrary and dictatorial and never ask what anyone else thinks; they dump the work on their people, but don't lend a hand; they steal their ideas and take credit for their work; on top of it, they might even then stab them in the back when they're not looking; ah, forget about showing any sort of appreciation or kindness--it's dog eat dog. 

Hence, being a mensch first is a management must!

Think about people, not as a means to an end, but as an end unto themselves--they are souls interacting with your soul. 

Kindness, compassion, empathy...but keep your eyes on the important work and mission you are doing.

Get it done together, as a team, collaboratively, and with everyone contributing towards the endgame. 

(Live and) manage as a mensch! ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Bed, Bath, and Beyond)
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February 14, 2016

Your Computer Is All Wet

So I was at my first synagogue men's club event last week.

A guy at the door was checking people in with a laptop lent by my friend, who is the head of the men's club.

Sitting at the desk, the check-in guy had a cup of soda and at one point, it got knocked over and spilled on top of the MacAir. 

I raced over with some napkins to try and wipe it off quickly, and my friend grabbed his laptop and held it upside down to try and get the spill out.

For a while, the computer stayed on, but as I feared all the sugary stuff in the soda would do it in so it wouldn't turn on again. 

I emailed my friend a number of times during the week to find out how his laptop was doing. 

He had made an appointment with AppleCare and they said they could fix it, but he said it would cost almost as much as a new computer. 

Also, they gave him a contact somewhere else that specializes in recovering the data/contents on the computer. 

The saga with the computer isn't over, but on Shabbat my friend in synagogue said to me, "You know, you were the only one who contacted me to inquire how I was doing with the laptop."

And he gave me a warm smile that said thank you for actually giving a damn. 

I thought to myself perhaps we only have a few real friends in the world and it's not just about who gives us that old ada-boy at the fun events. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 24, 2015

Everyone's Heart Is Something


This video has gone viral since Monday. 

A 6-year old girl instructs her mom and dad on how to treat each other better after her parent's divorce. 

"I just want everyone to be friends."

"If I can be nice, I think all of you can be too."

"I want everyone to smile."

"I think you can get your mean heights to low heights."

"My heart is something. Everyone's heart is something."

"If we live in a world where everyone is mean, then everyone will be a monster. What about the future?"

"If there is a little bit of person, we will eat them, then no one will ever be here, only the monsters will be in our place,"

"I want everything to be good and possible, nothing else."

So innocent and pure are her words.

Yes, a wake-up call to all of us!

If G-d can endow us with such pristine souls, surely we can nurture these and one day return them to the Maker, certainly no worse for the wear, and maybe even some better with good deeds done. ;-)
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June 10, 2015

Don't Just Hire Another You

So the corporate cat is out of the bag...

The New York Times confirms that "more than 80% of employers worldwide named cultural fit as a top hiring priority," where cultural fit is a sugarcoated synonym for hiring others like themselves!

Your resume influences whether you get an interview, but then "chemistry"--personality ("not qualifications") takes over--"like you were on a date."

Often cited reasons for hiring someone:

- Someone you would enjoy "hanging out" with, and "developing close relationships with."

- Those with "shared experiences," alma maters, and pedigrees--including "hobbies, hometowns, and biographies...and even "those who played the same sport."

What about diversity?

Well apparently, it's still an "old boys network" out there, even though diversity has been found especially important for "jobs involving complex decisions and creativity,"  and so as not to become "overconfident, ignore vital information, and make poor (and even unethical) decisions."

No doubt, personality and values can also be important in getting along with others in the group--even a few jerks on the team, can create plenty of havoc, discord, and dysfunction. 

Maybe after meeting the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) requirements, one of the litmus tests should be not whether the person is the same as us, but whether they are moral and decent human beings that can act appropriately with others.  

Not an easy thing to judge from some interviews, testing, or even reference checking--even when these are done well, there are still quite a number of hiring surprises that happen.

Or as they say about marriage, you don't really know the person until you wake up with them in the morning. 

There are also more extensive background checking that can help vet employees, such as in the Federal system, where many sensitive positions require an in-depth security clearance review process that looks at everything from criminal background, financial responsibility, psychological stability, national loyalties, and more. 

We need to know who we are dealing with, not intrusively, but responsibly for good hiring decisions. 

Honestly, you don't just want to hire the candidate that just looks good, like the pretty girl with no personality or a hideous disposition. 

To be clear, there should never be ANY hiring biases in the workplace--conscious or unconscious. 

Hiring mangers should make sure the person they are hiring is excellent in terms of the KSAs, has a broad set of terrific references, and can reasonably act like a mensch under a broad set of circumstances--the last one is the hardest one to ensure. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 8, 2014

Charisma, MORE Than Skin Deep

Charisma is something that can make or break a career or life.

If you have it, people often flock to you--that means connections, networking, relationships, and support. 

If you don't have it, then kiss your effectiveness and associates goodbye. 

According to Elizabeth Holmes in the Wall Street Journal, charisma is about how you look, talk, prep, smile, and get feedback. 

At work, for example, Holmes focuses quite a bit on superficial outwardly things like "Look polished, wrinkle-free," "Make eye contact," "Master grace under fire," and more.

And while these are important, they are really also the more superficial of what you can do in term of primarily how you look and comport yourself on the surface. 

Holmes does point more substantive things you can do, like ask for honest feedback, so presumably you can improve yourself. 

But improvements in the skin deep is nice, but not the essence of charisma.

Yes, no one appreciates someone who comes into the room disheveled, smelly, and like a proverbial turd. 

But more important than how one looks, talks and carry's themselves outwardly is how they actually behave. 

Looks are superficial, and word are cheap, but what a person actually does shows what they are really all about as a human being. 

Yes, do you need to build confidence by being put together, of course you do.

But to really build respect, trust, influence, inspire, and lead, you need to be a mensch--a decent human being, grounded in virtuous beliefs, who shows they will do the right thing and act at all times with a core integrity.

Charisma means we genuinely care and help others--not that we focus on promoting ourselves by walking around as the high and mighty

In the end, your charisma, charm, gravitas, presence and effectiveness as a leader is much more about what you do then what you simply look like or spout out. 

Be genuinely kind, caring, and giving, and that is a presence that can be sincerely felt and not just ogled over. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 28, 2014

So It Really Is A Popularity Contest

Good, Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal finally said it..."likability matters more than ever at work."

Yes, you also need to know your subject matter and be able to perform like a pro, but just that alone is not enough.


If your a card or a jerk, no one wants to know you.


The old Jewish thinking about being a mensch, first and foremost, still holds true.  


"Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others, and have mistakes forgiven."


Employees also track employees likability on social networks and recruit those who can well represent them and make transformative changes. 


What contributes to likability:


1. Be Authentic - an ounce of sincerity is worth more than a boatload of of b.s. -- people see right through it.


2. Use Positive Cues - eye contact, smiling naturally, and a warm, varying, and enthusiastic tone make you approachable and believable.


3. Show interest in others - selfishness, narcissism, and I, I, I will get you no friends; show genuine interest in the other person--be cognizant of what's in it for them--give a damn!


4. Listen - 2 ears, 1 mouth; close the mouth and listen to the other person--don't just hear them, understand them, empathize, feel something!


5. Find common ground - look for shared interests or commonalities; we can all relate to others with whom we can identify.


Short and sweet, treat others as you would want to be treated (Golden Rule) and it doesn't pay to be a ass! ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 9, 2014

Watch Out For Organizational Psychopaths

Ever feel like this at work?

The knives are flying and you're the target--where's the next one going, the heart of head?

Harvard Business Review has a telling blog about bosses at work that are borderline psychopaths.

Hard to spot because of their "chameleon-like qualities," they are:

- "Self-serving"--basically they have what I call the selfish disorder, they want power, money, and status but don't really care about the organization, mission or people, just themselves!

- "Manipulative personalities"--they hide their agendas, but work over others with charm, favors, even pretend friendship to get what they want.

- Domineering--corporate psychopaths are bullies, who assert themselves over others; they are insecure and endlessly competitive and abuse the people that work for them rather than recognize and reward them. 

- Win-lose---they play corporate gamesmanship, appearing collegial enough, but really are always trying to get one up on their colleagues, staff, and even their bosses. 

-"Unburdened by the pangs of conscience"--they don't care what it takes to get what they want for themselves: they will lie, cheat, steal, and try to get rid of the competition (even if that is everyone that works for them or around them).   

Estimates are that "perhaps 3.9% of corporate professionals" have these psychopathic tendencies--With all the crazies out there, that seems on the low side. What do you think?

Thank G-d, however, that there are some good bosses out there--seek those people out who act like mensches, who elevate others and do not treat them like the enemy within--those people are true gems. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2013

Mr. Universe of Leadership

A colleague at work told me about a book called Compelling People by Neffinger and Kohut.

The thesis of the book is that the most effective and powerful leaders balance projecting strength and warmth.


If you just show strength, then you would potentially be seen as dictatorial, a micromanager, unapproachable, all work and no personality, and maybe even a tyrant.


And if you just project warmth, then you would likely be seen as wimpy, emotional but not intellectual/skilled, managing by friendship and not professionally, and not focused on results. 


That's why combining and projecting a healthy balance of strength and warmth is effective in leading towards mission results, but also in being a "mensch" and caring for the people you work with. 


You can't have sustained strong performance without a happy workforce.


And you can't have a happy workforce without strength to achieve meaningful work performance.


In funny, but in a sense Arnold Schwarzenegger is a good example of someone who combines the two. 


On one hand, he represents the big and strong "Mr. Universe," and was able to play in numerous action movies, such as Terminator, Predator, Conan The Barbarian, and more.


At the same time, Schwarzenegger always had a warm, softer side and stared in comedies like Kindergarten Cop, Twins (as the intellectual twin of street-wise Danny Devito), and Junior (where he undergoes a male pregnancy!).


While no one is good at everything and it can be hard to effectively balance strength and warmth, leaders that master this can become the real Mr. Universe for their organizations and people. ;-)


(Source Photo: Left from Andy Blumenthal and Right from here with attribution to Eva Rinaldi)

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March 7, 2012

The Meaning of CIO Squared

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An article in CIO Magazine (1 March 2012) describes the term "CIO Squared" as "the combination of chief information officer and chief innovation officer," and goes on to provide examples of CIOs that are both of these. 

While I respect this definition of the term and think innovation is certainly critical to the success of any CIO, and for that matter any organization in our times, I have been writing a column called CIO Squared for a couple of year now in Public CIO magazine and have other thoughts about what this really means. 

Moreover, I think the article in CIO missed the point of what "squared" really implies. 

Like the notion that 1+1=3, CIO Squared is a concept that the CIO is not just multi-faceted and -talented (that would be 1+1=2), but rather that the CIO integrates multiple facets and roles and synergizes these so that they have an impact greater than the sum of the parts (i.e. 1+1=3). 

I see the CIO Squared fulfilling its potential in a couple of major ways:

- Firstly, many organizations have both a Chief Information Officer and a Chief Technology Officer--they break the "Information Technology" concept and responsibility down into its components and make them the responsibility of two different people or different roles in the organization. One is responsible for the information needs of the business and the other brings the technology solutions to bear on this.  

However, I believe that fundamentally, a truly successful CIO needs to be able to bridge both of these functions and wear both hats and to wear them well. The CIO should be able to work with the business to define and moreover envision their future needs to remain competitive and differentiated (that's the innovation piece), but at the same time be able to work towards fulfilling those needs with technology and other solutions. 

Therefore, the role split between the CIO as the "business guy" and the CTO as the "technology whiz" has to merge at some point back into an executive that speaks both languages and can execute on these.  

That does not mean that the CIO is a one-man team--quite the contrary, the CIO has the support and team that can plan and manage to both, but the CIO should remain the leader--the point of the spear--for both.  

Another way to think of this is that CIO Squared is another name for Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO). 

- A second notion of CIO Squared that I had when putting that moniker out there for my column was that the CIO represents two other roles as well--on one hand, he/she is a consummate professional and business person dedicated to the mission and serving it's customer and stakeholders, and on the other hand, the CIO needs to be a "mensch"--a decent human being with integrity, empathy, and caring for others.  

This notion of a CIO or for that matter any CXO--Chief Executive Officer or the "X" representing any C-suite officer (CEO, COO, CFO, CHCO, etc.)--needs to be dual-hatted, where they perform highly for the organization delivering mission results, but simultaneously do so keeping in mind the impact on people and what is ultimately good and righteous.

Therefore, the CIO Squared is one who can encompass both business and technology roles and synthesize these for the strategic benefit of the organization, but also one who is mission-focused and maintains integrity and oneness with his people and G-d above who watches all. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 26, 2011

Raise Your Glass To Great Bosses

It's a funny time of year. Folks are celebrating the holidays, and for some of them the traditional office party is full of cheer, while for others it’s a nightmare.

In a way it's a paradox for some that they have a holiday party with the same bosses that treat them otherwise badly the rest of year!

This reminds of some of the worst traits a boss can exhibit--here's a “top 10”:

1) Selfishness: Every day it's all about the boss--their power trip, their ego, their next promotion--instead of about the mission and the customers.

2) Amoral: To some, integrity and business do not go together.

3) Discrimination: They tolerate or in too many cases, even exhibit blatant discrimination themselves.

4) Disrespect: This can be overtly or implicitly, hurting the employee professionally and personally as well.

5) Inconsistency: Flip-flopping is not just something that bothers people about politics, but it makes for a bipolar work environment, where employees are damned if they do and if they don't, but the boss can always say, “I told you so (and the opposite).”

6) Favoritism: Plays favorites instead of judging employees only on the true factor, merit. This causes workers to become demoralized as they see people hired and promoted for all the wrong reasons.

7) Insecurity: They are threatened by seemingly everyone and everything--can't give anyone else credit or recognize the good around them--a one-person team who sees anybody else’s success as implying their own failure.

8) Competitive: They have to be the smartest person in the room, and innovation and objectivity is squelched--no risk is worth the wrath of “boss Khan.”

9) Stealing: If someone else does have something of value to contribute, this boss just steals it and presents it as their own (attribution or recognition, what for?)

10) Micromanagement: Looking over your shoulder every minute, redoing your work, not trusting you, they are control freaks, a complete nightmare to work for.

Bosses come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been fortunate to work for some of the best, and I hope that I do them justice with my own employees over the course of my career.

Here’s hoping that at your holiday party, you were able to raise your glass with a boss who makes you feel valued and respected--that's a holiday party to really celebrate!

(Source Photo: here)

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May 27, 2010

Five Ways To Motivate Employees With Meaning

By Andy Blumenthal
(Published in Information Management)


Employees need to be motivated to perform. No, not just with money, and not even with a pat of the back (although both can go a long way to demonstrate appreciation for a job well done).

People need to know that their efforts have meaning and effect—i.e. that they are not in vain. This can have some of the biggest impact of all on motivating behavior, because people inherently want to be productive human beings and for their life to have some ultimate significance. This concept was best portrayed by Victor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor who wrote In Search of Meaning, and it is the basis of logotherapy, which has been shown to help sufferers of terminal illnesses better cope with the remainder of their lives.

When people at work feel that they have no chance to succeed, they may cease to find meaning in their efforts. This can lead them to decrease their engagement at work instead of going all out to prove themselves. As the Wall Street Journal noted in a recent article, this is what happens when golfers compete with extremely superior rivals like Tiger Woods, and they just “cave.”

Why this de-motivational reaction from people who care about doing their best?

From an IT perspective, this is like an Integrated Definition Function Model (IDEF 0) that examines input, process, output, and outcome: When loss is viewed as a predestined outcome, the process is seen as meaningless, and the input therefore as wasted. In the face of meaninglessness, people recoil to save their energy for something they feel that they can really have a shot at, rather than invest in something that they see as going nowhere.

If the above is true, then, why do some people “fight to the death” when their “backs are against the wall”?

My grandfather used to say, “Where there is life, there is hope.” Some people are able to confront what seem like insurmountable obstacles, and fight their way forward anyway.

This is the core theme of the “Rocky” character and the incredible success of the movie series. In every movie, Rocky represents the determination to succeed against all odds.

I believe that the essence of life is the search for an opportunity to make a meaningful difference, and when one is able to make a difference, that is inherently motivating. (And so of course, the opposite is true.)

So if you are a leader, and your employees are demoralized, how can you engage them so that they feel like their work makes a real and significant difference? Here are ways that work:

  • Visualize the end-state: Articulate for people a compelling vision and a clear set of goals as well as why they are important.
  • Take an incremental approach: Show people an incremental path forward; small wins can add up to big success.
  • Focus on the customer: Look together at positive downstream effects of their work on their customers (and other stakeholders).
  • Make use of their work products: No one wants to build “shelfware.” Demonstrate that you really do appreciate their efforts by actually using the work they generate.
  • Be a mensch: Treat people according to the Golden Rule; for example, it’s really a small thing to say “please,” “thank you,” ad even an occasional “how are you today?” By treating people with respect, you show that they are valued personally and professionally.

As a leader, what better way to motivate and drive personal and organizational success then to provide genuine opportunity to contribute of ourselves in a meaningful way, in a way where our efforts have an impact, are valued and valuable, and where everyone can succeed.


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