I did a personal alignment check a while back. As a follow-up to MeInc Mission Check-All Systems GO? I identified the engagers that were in play, following. These weren’t predetermined assessment criteria, the gut check just gravitated toward these six: Clear View of the Top; Influence (Making a Difference); Belonging; Plan Progress; Values Match and Sustainability.
Big “aha” #1: a while back, for my own understanding I correlated the various engagers from several mainstream models, categorizing all of them to find commonalities: Engage for Success; Gallup Q-12, David Zinger’s pyramid; BlessingWhite and a few others for good measure. These categories help make sense of the many models and their engagers: Purpose; Involvement; Belonging; Expectations, Feedback; Utilizing Strengths; Growth; Results. Pretty close to what naturally emerged for me in Mission Check.
Not just due to luck, it’s that these things truly are among the most important to people, and me.
Big “aha” #2: if your mission is compelling, your vision is clear with your eye on the far horizon and beyond, and your values and strengths are in line with what needs to be done to get there, you’re good to go.
Clear View of the Top. Vision, Mission, Purpose are not just for the company. They are also vitally important to individuals. We all need that one thing to grab onto, something that’s bigger than “me”. I’ve always had The Big One in my sights. Just lucky, I guess.
Influence (Making a Difference). How do I impact the grand scheme of things? To me this is vital, as influence and impact are part of my vision. Influence is also a key theme in One Pond, One Pebble and in my workshop series. Most people want to leave their DNA behind, not an ego thing but more a matter of “I did all I could to the best of my abilities. I earned my keep, can I go now?”
Belonging. Mentioned in passing in Mission Check is that I’m building a relationship with a couple of credible entities. I don’t fare well for long in the Lone Ranger role, most people don’t. We are naturally social creatures, we need to play with others, we need a sense of belonging. To me, the essence of the African Ubuntu philosophy is: my humanity is fully realized only through others. I don’t recall Desmond Tutu’s exact take on Ubuntu, but mine is not far from his.
Plan Progress. The previous engagers apply to the Work Me as well as the Private Me and this one’s no different. This is the real driver behind doing an occasional mission check. It’s reassuring to know you are still on the right bus, and that the bus is still on the right road headed in the right general direction for where you want to go.
Values Match. This description is lengthy for a reason–the whole values thing is vital. It’s more than the comfort zone when there is no gap between my values system and the company’s stated values that is important. It’s whether my work and work environment fit my values, and whether I am allowed to work within my values system. Chalk it up to my values: I’ve been miserable in highly repetitive assignments (busy work!), and I absolutely abhor command-and-control or micro management (a busybody meddling in my busy work….OUCH!). That’s not to say I can’t adapt and survive short-term (I have), but I know for certain there is no chance I can thrive for any length of time in those environments (I won’t try). Fish out of water.
A manager’s objective is to get maximum contribution out of each worker. A smart leader knows each of his player’s strengths-what position each is most adept at. A strength is more than a talent: I am talented at data analysis, so I can do a good job at it. But the sizzle isn’t there for me, and data analysis rubs me wrong because for me it is a values mismatch. So while I will get the data analysis assignments done…what I’m supposed to do, within an allotted time…I will not give it my “all”. I cannot. It’s not even a conscious thing (“hey I think I’ll sandbag on the assignment”).
I have an intimate relationship with my values. I know my strengths and I understand the relationship between my values and my strengths. I have consciously followed a grueling regimen of “strengths training” for years, because it fits my values. I enjoy the workout, I am energized by it. As a result, my strengths have improved.
What if someone hasn’t given much thought to their values? Many people have not. They don’t know their strengths, they will miss out on grabbing onto the right strength enhancers, they may bulk up in the wrong areas and be even more miserable, they will be given the “wrong” type of assignments and will definitely be miserable….and not even know why.
Sustainability. We have a vested interest in the staying power of our employer, community, society in general. I know I don’t want to outlive any of them. And I don’t want my grand kids to worry about those things. But does sustainability apply to MeInc?
I’ve been involved in significant long-range community initiatives, and not just to get my name in the newspaper. There’s easier ways to get that done even if most are not legal. Community involvement hits every one of the engagement levers I’ve noted above. And, it’s a good way to know that even when I’m gone the things I’ve done will still be making an impact.
Influence and impact, one pond one pebble….people with whom I interact one on one or in groups at workshops. I know I can’t reach everyone. But even if I manage to influence just a few people now and then the ripples from that one pebble will spread. And if those few at some time drop a pebble of their own, which they will, that is sustainability. An ideology can take on a life of its own and live forever.