The 4 Paths of our Working Life

My last post was on Meaningful Contribution.  I talked about three questions about the work you are doing: does it serve others? do you do it well? and do you love doing it?

The 4 Paths in our Working Life

Taking two of those questions: does it serve others? and do you love doing it?  I put together today’s 2×2 graphic.

The man in the middle is like a new employee starting first day at a new company.  Which path will he take?

20130222-125856.jpg

The 4 Paths are:

  1. Quit and Stayed – he will keep showing up for the job, but do the minimum possible effort in order to not lose his job.  He is not satisfied.  He is not contributing.  He is worried about showing up on time, looking busy when the boss is watching, sending emails at 9pm to let everyone see that he is busy – but he is not contributing.  He is a cancer to those around him.  He will suck their satisfaction.  He will work to ensure that others are being regularly interrupted and unproductive so that he can feel comfortable in the company of slackers.
  2. Coasting – he enjoys his job, but has been focussing on the aspects that benefit him.  He is not there to serve the team nor the customer. He doesn’t do a bad job, but is not going to spend more than the minimum to hit minimum quality.
  3. Burn Out – he is good at his job, but has not taken his own growth as a person seriously.  He is running like a sprinter, not a marathon runner.  It is his responsibility to work at a rhythm that allows him to contribute more each day.  If he has too much work he needs to improve his work tools, his work methods.
  4. Engaged – he has found a good balance between enjoying the work, doing it well and improving his work.  His energy serves as a boost to those who are around him.  His contribution is sustainable and growing.  He is on the path to being an “A” Player – Self-Motivated and Experienced.

Bosses, Environment and Culture

The man in the central box could go any way.

Lou Holtz once replied to an Accenture partner’s question: “What do you do with unmotivated players?” with a snort of derision.  “Un-motivated players!?!  This is their dream.”

He returned to the question later and said “I guarantee that day 1, every new employee that walks through the door arrives motivated, with a desire to contribute.  If a year later he is no longer motivated, it is something you guys have done that has removed that motivation.”

Our parents, our school teachers, our past bosses, our current friends all contribute to our current state of contribution and satisfaction.  We can push our kids, our friends, our employees out of the middle circle into any of the 4 paths.

What do you do to make the top right path the most likely?

3 comments

  1. […] recently posted about the 4 paths of our working lives – and one path is Quit and Stayed.  These category of people are those who have […]

  2. Rosa Maria Cuadros · · Reply

    Choose to be engaged, always, all the time, despite everything, and have the acceptance to say no more longer when I’m not engaged. Is ethic huh?

    1. Ethic is something you do for others… Engaged is something best done for yourself first, but it serves others. Lack of engagement is a form of selfishness.

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