Hi Ho, Hi Ho… it’s off to work I go!  With a spring in my step and a sense of purpose!  Or not?

What’s work?  How do you bring real meaning to work?

When we begin working with people in business – owners and team members – we ask what their passion index is for their work.  We ask, “On a range of 1 being abysmal to 10, awesome, how would you rate your passion for your work?”

Based on the responses, many people are less than satisfied with their work (and there’s no difference between how employers and employees feel).  It gets worse because this sense of dissatisfaction tends to permeate into the rest of their lives – it’s as if because work sucks, then, so too must the rest of their lives

They tell us that they don’t enjoy what they do and they really don’t expect to – it is simply a means to an end, or it has become a permanent state of being which seems impossible to change.

The thing is, work takes on different meanings for different people.

A JOB:  Some see work as a job – a pay packet – what they need to do to earn money to do other stuff.

A CAREER: Others see work as a career – they may not enjoy the work itself necessarily but they are driven by the promotion, the status of the position and the climb up the ladder.

FULFILMENT: Work for others may be fulfilment – what they do gives them real meaning and contentment.

A CALLING:  A calling is another way of engaging with work and is an integral part of their purpose in life.

Any and all of these states are ok – it depends entirely on the individual, their belief systems, their blue prints around work, where they are in life and their level of awareness around their state of being.

Given we spend so much time at work – we have found that those who have no real passion for their work are spending a lot of time simply passing time – in a constant state of ennui otherwise known as BLAAAHH.

How to bring meaning to work - image 1


What does it take to shift this state of dissatisfaction to a more productive mindset – to have a different point of view on work?

The answer is in connecting the dots!

If making widgets is what you do but not why you are on this earth for this time, then how do you connect the dots between the making of widgets and life’s purpose?

The connection is made by viewing the pay or salary as an ENABLER rather than as a result or financial outcome.

You see when we change the way we look at things the things we look at change.

When we see our job or the pay cheque as the enabler of our extraordinary life, then, how we see the job changes.  The job takes on new meaning.

When encouraged to see wages as an enabler – enabling us to do more of what we love, to live a life full of purpose and intent – we are defining the context in which work sits.  We now understand that fulfilment does not need to come from the widget making itself.  And most importantly, with this understanding, we have a new respect for work because it is now positioned as the funding source for a life of fulfilment outside of work.

The status of the job has been lifted from meaningless widget making to being the conduit to fulfilment in life beyond work.

We have noticed that with this shift in mindset people are “falling back in love with their jobs” – this new energy around work often attracts new opportunities and new opportunities open the way to variety and growth which lifts energy further, which opens more doors and on it goes – work becomes more meaningful – and just maybe establishes itself as even more that an enabler!

What is work for you?  Would seeing work as an enabler make a difference to its value from your perspective?

Take time out to consider how changing the way you look at work might change your attitude to it.  Shifting from energy sucker to enabler of life!

I work with business owners and their teams in many sectors including the service industry, retail, manufacturing, and not for profit – to design more profitable, relevant and vibrant businesses.

One of the biggest blocks people (whose job title is anything other than sales person) have around initiating a sales conversation with their customers, is the words “sale” and “selling”.

Everybody has a blue print or a set of beliefs and stories triggered by past experiences, which flavour the meaning they attach to the word and the act of “selling”.  And often the meaning is negative and involves words such as false, dishonest, pushy, loud, demanding, and uncaring.

So rather that pull this belief system apart and reset the meaning – why not replace these words with others which are more accurate, more descriptive of what you really do and therefore, carry a very different connotation.

We don’t just come up with a new word – it has to be part and parcel of your business language, reflective of WHY you do what you do, and totally aligned with your culture and values.  There must be authenticity and transparency.


Finding a new word

You might start with some brainstorming with your team around these questions:

—> What do people buy from us?  What do they really buy?

Instead of these traditional questions:

—> What do we sell?  How do we sell what we sell?

This not so subtle change in the question requires a significant shift in thinking.  The answer will change the conversations you are having with your clients and prospects, it will change the way you position yourself in the market, and it may even change the way you design the entire buyer experience.


Case Study:

Let’s think of this in terms of a bank.

Traditional thinking says that banks sell credit cards and they do that by making a sales call and telling their clients about the product and its features.

Now, let’s consider the new question:

—> What do people buy from us? 

Access to more funds.

—> What do people really buy from us?

A shopping experience.

—> What do people really, really buy from us?

The fun and enjoyment of the shopping trip and being someone who has the financial where with all to enjoy that experience.

So people don’t buy credit cards – they buy a state of being and an identity!

And what is the banks role in this – are they selling this state or identity?

I suggest that the bank is actually enabling a state and an identity – not selling!  The bank enables the customer to have fun and feel like someone who is financially able to go on a shopping spree and to identify with the “status” that goes with that.

Seller to Enabler - Image in Blog

Being an enabler of a desired state or identity is such a different concept to selling a credit card.

There goes the block!  The conversation is now directed away from a transaction and towards the opportunity to build a better relationship with the customer.   And that’s another story!

There is a huge shift here – the belief that you have to be a sales person to sell, is now defunct.  We aren’t selling, we’re enabling. Anyone can enable – including sales people.  Enabling is what we do across all departments, across all roles and responsibilities.

This new understanding must be entrenched in the culture of the organisation – and it won’t work if your walk says something else – it won’t work if you don’t genuinely believe in why you do what you do, and what you enable is front and centre here.  It won’t work if you think this is just a mind game.

Knowing what people really, really buy from you is a must have, a non-negotiable prerequisite to designing a powerful business.

What do people really, really buy from you?

We cover this and heaps more at our 3 hour BUSINESS by DESIGN workshops coming to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne between 31 March – 4 April 2014.  Book Now to design an even more successful business.

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