They were like ships without a rudder, a sailboat without any wind. They were frustrated and becoming more and more disengaged as the days went by. Some had already hit the breaking point and left for what we hoped was greener pastures on the other side of the fence. What if nothing changed though? What if things were not any better next door? It all seemed to be better from the outside but once we get inside it – will it be that way?
The picture that I am painting is one that takes place in the majority of organizations today. Employees exist with no sense of purpose and struggle to find reasons to plant both feet firmly on the floor and rise to the occasion of going to work each and every day. Can you imagine how that might feel? Of course you can! As you read this article you can picture yourself in this very same position. Wandering your organization with no sense of purpose.
So how do I define what my sense of purpose is? I have found that Simon Sineks’ book, “Start with Why! “does a real great job of explaining this. I have worked with entrepreneurs who are trying to find their way and we talk a lot about what their “why” is – what their “sense of purpose” is. This very same journey can also be applied to every employee in an organization.
In today’s business world understanding the “why” of your organization can take a successful company to a very successful company. We would all like to be working in an organization like that!
When I work with someone in a mentoring relationship I like to spend some time to focus on this very topic. Most of us have limited if any understanding of what our purpose is within the organization that we are employed by. That statement – “employed by” says it all. We don’t feel a part of the organization, we have no sense of how what we do enables the organization to be successful. We can become complacent and disengaged and more often than not this is the path that we find ourselves on.
One thing that I have found that works really well and I use this in a lot of mentoring situations is to take the organization’s strategic plan and map out what a person’s role might be in helping the organization meet the goals of the plan. There are a number of variables to consider including drawing on positive experiences outside the work place to reinforce what you are feeling within the organization. It is also of great value to have the leaders in the organization explain not only the strategic plan and how people contribute to the goals but explain the organization’s “why”.
Including the “why” discovery in the mentoring process can be part of the continuous learning that takes place in organizations with a mentor program and/or mentor culture. If you want your employees to be part of your organization for a long while and to be engaged and empowered then you need to have mentoring in your organization and we need to explore the “why”.
Leverage “The Gift of Mentoring” in your organization today – “can you afford not to?”
Doug Lawrence is the founder of TalentC®, a Human Resources solution provider focused on effective mentoring. Doug is an International Certified Mentor Practitioner (ICMP) and an International Certified Mentor Facilitator (ICMF). He has over 30 years of mentoring and leadership experience.
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