Sunday, July 26, 2009

Work to live

The “live to work or work to live” debate has been bantered about for years. There the extended argument that “if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.” Of course, there is also the bumper sticker that says “the worst day fishing is better than the best day working.”

A lot of it is perspective, but let me share a portion of an email I got last week from a colleague.

“At this point in my life, I too will hopefully be making some changes....sometime soon I will make the decision to retire. In the meantime, I have formed a non-profit organization named ListoAmerica (Listo is the Spanish word that means "ready"/"prepared" and also an acronym for Latino Infusion into Science & Technology Opportunities). To learn more about ListoAmerica, I'm in the process of developing the webpage: (even though I have not yet generally communicated this webpage information (since I don't think it is the finished product yet), I have now given you the webpage and you can learn more about ListoAmerica since the webpage is actually live).”

As leaders we need to recognize that “whole” people work for us. We do not get a third of a person. We get a whole person for a third of their total time! They are doing very important things with the other two-thirds. Leaders need to help bring this passion into the workplace and bridge the workplace with the external passion. Imagine what the person that authored this email could do for the Latino workforce if they were unleashed.

What are you doing to build bridges to create opportunities for your team’s passions?


R J Hall said...

To me, the key is to know your people, what turns them on and what is important to them. Their passions may not every directly relate to their work lives, but parallels can be drawn.

The passions that I have been able to harness most with my teams (when what's important to them outside of work is family or gardens, or skiing) is the passion for excellence in all they do.

When we connect with our team members on a personal level (and I'm not talking about being buddies) and we respect and help facilitate their opportunties to fulfill their personal passions, they can feel more fulfilled, more part of our team and more willing to invest in the search for continuous improvement and excellence at work.

I guess, to me, it comes down to respecting your people and what's important to them. They will reciprocate.

Simon said...

Hi John,
I just want to say thanks for your contributions to the LinkedIn discussions. It seems that many contributors are either asking for advice (often on quite basic matters!!) or are seeking to push their product/service. There are however a few contributors who actually offer something of value - useful anecdotes/stories/snippets of info that inspire and encourage reflection. You no doubt know which category you fall in.
So, thanks for what you're doing and keep it up.

Anonymous said...

The point about hiring the whole person is such a valid one and something that the recruitment industry almost always forgets.

This inevitably means that there is so much waste of human potential and is a primary cause of employee disengagement, with all its hidden, unmeasured costs.

My solution is to take the statement "people are our greatest asset" literally and account for them as such, in just the same way sports stars are. This offers a unique way of creating employee ownership that delivers greater alignment and teamwork.

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