Do you think that making work meaningful is too grand a vision for your company? What would happen if you started to rethink the work your organization does from the perspective of how to make it meaningful to the people to do it?
Asked another way - what makes life meaningful? When you look back over your day - what stands out as relevant, as memorable? What makes a day as good day?
Ed Self, Executive Director of Wildlands Restoration Volunteers has that as his one guiding principle. His is the only organization I've ever assessed where 100% of the participants loved and were satisfied with their culture. For me this is a perfect expression of the heart of the Sustainable Values Set(c) - actions create the conditions that support Life!
It's 9:00 AM and I'm sitting here with tears I my eyes after watching the video below. You watch it an tell me if you tear up.
These are tears of joy, not sadness, of release that, yes, there is silliness and joy in the world and that makes life worth living and meaningful. Watching others be silly makes my life more meaningful. Why?
We get so caught up in righting wrongs and in getting ahead that we forget the important things. I believe that we need to re-remember what brings us joy - what makes life worth living, if we want to get through the difficult times ahead. So much of that difficulty will be our attachments and feelings of loss for a way of life we have become accustomed to, but really, what are we "loosing?"
We can dance, we can be silly, we can be caring, and we can be funny with way less in terms of possessions and stuff, we just have to re-remember that. We get meaning out of process, the "how" of life, than we do from results. It is the journey we remember from vacations, not just where we went.
Work is the same way. Culture works when we enjoy being with the people we work with. The results we achieve are secondary to the process of achieving them. Effective cultures are created when we pay attention to the "how" and make achieving the goals meaningful and joyous. We may not dance at work (why not?) but our hearts can when what we do feeds our souls as well as our pocketbooks. That is the kind of Life that needs supporting - not just existence. Life experiences that bring joy to our hearts and a spring to our step - work that supports the whole being - that's fulfilling!