Recipe for Success

What gets you up in the morning?

Often we want to throw money at people in an effort to engage them, and tie them to us. Sometimes comp experts even say things like “lock them up” and “golden handcuffs.”

Those kinky comp folks.

The challenge though is how do we hook people to the enterprise in lieu of money. There’s not an unlimited supply and salary alone really is a hygiene factor (see: Herzberg). So what does the HR practitioner do to build commitment?

Three Things

Turns out there’s really three things that matter to us in work. Three things that will make us get out of bed in the morning.

  1. Belief in the Mission – Whether its the Red Cross, Amys Ice Creams or GE, you gotta believe in the mission. How is your organization changing the world? Mission isn’t the silly statements on your website or walls – its the DNA of your existence. What are you there for. And it really doesn’t matter if you’re a two-person startup or 100,000 plus: missions matter. All of us respond in a deep visceral way if we believe we’re making an impact on the society at large. Yes, sometimes it can feel like you’re just a pebble dropping in the ocean. But every pebble creates a ripple. Find places whose mission you respond to and watch the ripples increase into a tide
  2. Respect for my boss – Bosses make convenient targets for late night comedians and snarky SoMe commentators, and yet, a good one is a gift. And many of them try. If you respect your boss – not like, tolerate or grudgingly accept – but if you respect your boss for what they bring you’ll be able to commit. Their unique combination of solutions, temperament and sense of teaming is essential to respect. Different bosses work in different environments so it can be serendipity that makes your boss the right fit. Are they suited to the needs of the business at this time? Belief and respect for the person you work for is paramount, and should not be confused with being friends
  3. Enjoyment of coworkers – We spend a lot of time at work: do you want to be with people you enjoy, or not? Its true not every one of us is likable every day (that may surprise a few of you) but the truth is most of us have a general orientation towards coworkers that’s either open and accepting or closed and competitive. What’s the model for your team or unit? Enjoying coworkers for what they bring to the table enables teammates to be more open and thus likely to generate ideas. Appreciating others for what they offer and how they’re different than us is the key to this enjoyment. Look for people who compliment us and are committed like us, not for people who are copies of us

Maybe it seems too simple, yet this three-step formula really works. With these elements in place almost all of us can get out of bed ready to take on the day and make a contribution at the office.

The hard part? Actually effecting these elements.

A simple recipe, yes. A simple task, no.

Let’s get to work.


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