Years ago, I read the tremendous book Gung Ho which focuses on the meaning of work and understanding and embracing the contribution we all make. Watching a squirrel work demonstrates an important principle along these lines. The squirrels work hard to gather because they know that the winter is coming and if they if they don’t have enough food gathered they will die in the cold. Therefore, their work is important. The work however moves beyond important….it is worthwhile and they all understand it as being worthwhile. In the same way the work we do as humans has to be understood as important and then it has to lead to well understood and shared goals that are shared with our colleagues. The learnings we draw from this work will lead to the creation of values we agree on, creation of all plans, decisions and actions.
I have found that people have to understand what they do and how it contributes to the well-being of humankind. We do this by measuring the activity’s that we engage in people terms rather than by units. E.g. by doing what I am doing right now, what sort of impact do I have on the lives of others? The other important factor is to understand how the specific role we fulfil fits into the big picture and end result.
May we all live and work with a sense of contribution and live a Gung-Ho life!