Why do so many people go to work to environments where they would rather not be, according to a schedule they barely tolerate? That story sounds awful! Typically, money is a reason! One accomplished professional refers to his work regimen as renting behaviors. He enjoys the pay, the perks, the prestige. But, his storytelling does not align with his real purpose. He dislikes that an imposter arrives at his office every day. Motivational speaker, Les Brown, often described a similar work experience as the place where “They paid me just enough to keep me from quitting and I worked just enough to keep from getting fired!”
In this reality, the workplace reflects an environment that imposes authority. The professional exchange is compensation for results. However, the actual agenda is set by others. Temporary certainty is part of the psychological agreement. But, the arrangement is tolerable, not optimal. A common personal brand is a hardworking professional with adequate trappings of success. Unfortunately, this representation is only partially true and does not reflect anyone’s greatest contribution. Adding value to the organization is admirable. Living an existence that minimizes professional contributions is personally sad.
Identifying a personal story and developing it results in more personal fulfillment. Undoubtedly, that path involves more risk. On the other hand, eliminating professional risk ultimately leads to eliminating professional reward. Meeting today’s professional expectation does very little to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities. Alternatively, applying skills with direct relationships to productivity increases contribution and value. Whether that path features entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, freelancing, or side hustles, an environment directly reflecting desired results leads to more productive personal performance.
Assuming full responsibility for individual gain does not meet everyone’s risk tolerance. For many contributors, the conventional workplace provides authority. The diligent, trustworthy employee is a satisfactory personal brand for several successful professionals. This identity even exists in entrepreneurial environments. But, individual destiny still plays a part. Storytelling that celebrates conquering brand new problems, demands risk to be part of the narrative.
By owning personal development, and subsequently personal progress, professionals no longer must go to work seeking authority. Authority resides in the individual’s skill set and brand. More importantly, as skill sets grow, through training, networking, and personal development, authority grows, as well. Followers emerge. Not just on an organization chart, but as a result of the destiny that more progressive producers project. Leaders no longer need position and titles. They merely need followers who eagerly work to achieve aggressive results!
Individual reasons for work must be faced honestly. If financial success is the purpose, then develop and deploy skills that achieve that goal. Emphasize client facing skills or produce goods and services where compensation directly aligns with productivity. If empire building is the purpose, then assemble a team to erect a flourishing enterprise. Great storytelling is essential to charting any course. Ongoing professional development is equally essential to pursuing unknown professional horizons. In building tremendous value, authority no longer resides in a physical location, or an organizational chart, or a corporate developed set of objectives. Authority comes from pursuing new frontiers, developing individual strengths and participating in the value that teams create.
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond