Those are real people who are doing real things that benefit other real people. One or more leaders has taken the time to establish that context for them. I’ve been talking a lot about this spot in workshops and speeches I’ve given this year. The question I’ve been asking leaders is what opportunities do you have to connect your people with the higher purpose of their work? One of the leaders who answered that question for me recently was a senior manager in a federal law enforcement agency. He leads a unit that purchases equipment for their agents. He told me that a framed bulletproof vest hangs in the lobby of his office building. The vest has sustained firearms damage right about where the wearer’s heart would be. It was worn by an actual agent who was on the wrong side of a firefight. It saved his life. It now hangs in the office lobby to remind the people working there that they’re not just buying equipment. They’re saving lives. Who is the ultimate beneficiary of the work that you and your team do? What difference does your work make to them? What real life stories can you tell or experiences can you create that will help your people connect with the higher purpose of what they do everyday?
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