Furious Activity Is No Substitute for Understanding

   This quote from an obscure English clergyman, Rev. H.H. Williams, Bishop of Carlyle, 1861, rings true with most of our clients (family and friends, too, for that matter). The bishop and his wisdom was drawn in the first team meeting with a client and became the totem for the rest of the team's work together, and a great focusing mechanism.   Graphic: Jody Lentz

This quote from an obscure English clergyman, Rev. H.H. Williams, Bishop of Carlyle, 1861, rings true with most of our clients (family and friends, too, for that matter). The bishop and his wisdom was drawn in the first team meeting with a client and became the totem for the rest of the team's work together, and a great focusing mechanism. Graphic: Jody Lentz

 

How many organizations are afflicted with this malady? How many people and teams continue to spin their wheels madly while gaining no traction? Judging from the weary and knowing reactions when the Bishop's wisdom is shared, it's widespread and pervasive. People acknowledge that it's real, but are they doing anything about it? Can they stop long enough to step back from their Work and understand their (the team’s, the organization’s) Purpose?

Is "understanding" that hard to get to? Not always, but it requires the kind of discipline that removes us from our day-to-day rut, raises our line of sight above the weeds we're in and the fires we're fighting, to re-focus on our Purpose. It is incumbent on managers and leaders at every level to intentionally re-connect everyone in their organization to an understanding of a bigger picture of the enterprise. Surveys show over and over this connection to Purpose is the #1 motivator for all employees [FYI, #2 is specific, personal, authentic recognition for a job well done]. But if people cannot connect the dots between their Work and their Purpose, energy flags and productivity suffers.

Of course, this phenomenon is human and not limited to business. We’ve just emerged from the season where it is most apparent – too much consumption, not enough gratitude; too many parties, too little connection. It is easy to justify our “furious activity” as “life” or “work,” but shouldn’t the furious activity be a means to an end? That’s where the understanding lies…

Our organization’s Purpose is both the bedrock of our culture and the North Star of our strategy. Understanding, reinforcing and bringing to life organizational Purpose pays tremendous rewards at the individual, team, department and enterprise levels. In our strategic thinking and planning work for the government, education, non-profit and corporate clients, Purpose is the center of gravity for all our efforts.

 
 
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Jody Lentz is a lifelong facilitator with a passion to create high-performance, low-drama work environments. His focus on supporting organizations to create and maintain better teams, better meetings and better decisions touches strategy, culture, leadership and innovation. Also, he worked for LEGO and lost on Jeopardy!