I’m not sure if it is just my selection of reading material, but recently I noticed that just about every entrepreneurial blog post or business book I read includes reference to the benefits to clarify the purpose of your business and how you can get your team to perform better by showing how their work contributes to creating a better world for your customers.
It sounds logical: Clarify the meaning of work and your team will be happier to perform! But is this true? Will “meaning” lead to “productivity”?
And here enters Chip Conley, the Californian hotelier who applies Maslow’s hierarchy of needs very successfully to the running of his hospitality group. He says the way to produce “peak performance” by your teams is not to only by creating meaning at work, but also meaning in work — which kind of starts making it clear that there is more meaning to “meaning” when you want to create a well performing team!
Meaning AT WORK is about how team members feel about the company and its mission, and their work environment. Meaning IN WORK is about how your team members feel about their specific tasks and the job they carry out.
The challenge is to create the conditions for your team to experience meaning both at and in their work, which Conley suggests you can evaluate at hand of this table:
Now, remember, employees in the hotel business are mostly required to do low-skill, sometimes mundane or even ordinarily unpleasant work like carrying luggage or cleaning toilets. So if Conley could find ways to add meaning both IN WORK and AT WORK for his teams, then you should be able to do the same for yours!
- “Peak – How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow” by Chip Conley