To properly align as a team, we have to be willing to have conversations that lead us into why we’re doing what we’re doing. We have to touch the meaning, the engagement, the mind, and the heart.
Adam Grant, the very talented Wharton professor as well as bestselling author, shares research in his book Give and Take that highlights how powerful purpose and meaning is to those on our teams. He tells about a university call center that is set up to call alumni for donations to the school. The workers in this call center are not shy about talking about the challenges of the job and the fact that ninety percent of asks are rejected. It’s a tough and constant job, and the call center employees were often unaware of where the money they raised was even going.
However, Grant highlights a turning point in this case study. One day, the call center employees were able to spend time face to face with someone who had received a scholarship to the school thanks to their efforts.
Immediately, the call center team was more energized. Almost overnight, the results also followed: 144 percent more alumni donated each week and the average caller donation rate jumped from a $412 average to more than $2,000 afterward.
The members in the call center became aligned around the purpose and the meaning of their work. They found motivation in the faces and stories of the people they were trying to serve. They returned their focus to the why of their work. It was a conversation which was the currency for change. They remembered the temperature they were trying to set for the future.
Jason Barger is the globally celebrated author of Step Back from the Baggage Claim, ReMember, and the newly released book Thermostat Cultures, as well as a coveted keynote speaker and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
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