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This business coaching episode explains ways to continually find meaning.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Jargonization Translation : Urban Renewal - The process where an urban neighborhood or area is improved and rehabilitated. - BusinessDictionary.com
  • Lesson Nugget: As a manager, you must help your team find meaning by continually discussing how they are making a difference.
  • Action Step: Connect meaning and purpose to your work.
  • Action Step : Show interest in your team members and their interests.

Workforce Education Tulsa Community College powered by Thrive15.com


-All right, Jim, today we are diving into the mail bag again. Now I told you earlier, but I get to talk with these Thrivers on a regular basis, and they are thrilled at opportunities like this where their questions actually get answered. So just any of you guys watching, if you have questions, the Ask The Guru button's right there, so fill that out, and we'll have opportunities like this for you to answer.


-But here's the question we got today, OK? This is from a Thriver in Oregon. This is what they wrote. Guys, I keep hearing you talk about the importance of building winning teams, yet I work for the city government, and it just feels like you all are operating in a different world that is totally impossible for me to operate in. As a manager, I can't really fire anyone or hold people accountable. What advice would you have for me? What would you say to this Thriver right now?

-Well, I would say that when I worked for the city government-- literally I worked for the city government in Little Rock, Arkansas. Years ago the Little Rock Housing Authority, the Urban Renewal Agency, I was an assistant to a man who didn't need an assistant. I was. Bob Moore was my boss, and I was his gopher. You know, go for coffee, go for paper, go for whatever. And he didn't need me, so I had tons of spare time. Well, what I did with my spare time at first, because I tend to be self directed more than a lot of people, is I studied urban renewal. They had some books on urban renewal, and I read the books. Where did it all start? How did it develop over the years? What's different and so forth. But then I ran out of that, and also I wasn't all that interested in it. So I knew this wasn't going to be my field, and so I read the Bible cover to cover at work in a three-month period out of boredom. Nice way to fill boredom, and it certainly enhanced my life, but it didn't help my employer at all, right?


-So how do you build a winning team if you're a business manager in an agency where you've got all these government restrictions and they say, don't do what makes sense, do what's in the book. Just exactly like it's in the book. People need more than anything else, meaning. More than food we need meaning. We need a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to live, a reason to go to work, and if there's not somebody at work that's pointing out to us why what we're doing matters and how it helps other people, then we tend to lose touch with that. So that's the position you're in. If you're hoping to cultivate more of a winning team, you've got to get everybody thinking about and talking about how you're making a difference, how you help people, why your work matters. And you've got to start by taking an interest in each of you people. Find out what they care about that has some remote relationship to the job. You might say, well, what if they care about soccer, and there's nothing here connected-- just fine. I'm talking about, find out what they're interested in in life and in general, and look for ways to link that to the job.

Years ago I had an employee, who was a salesperson for me, and I was talking with him one day. His name was Bob. I said, Bob, what do you want to do with your career? And he was in his 20s, I think. And he said, well, and I said, what's wrong? Why are you hesitating? He said, well, I don't want to be here for my career. I said, well, I get that. I didn't expect this would be your lifelong work, but what do you want to do with your career? He said, well, honestly? I want to surf camp. I want to create a surf camp, a place on some island somewhere where I can get a great relationship going with all the local vendors, I can bring people in from around the world and teach them how to surf and help them have an epic surfing experience for a week at a time. And I said, well, cool. Then what do you need to know and be good at in order to have a surf camp that's successful? He said, I don't know. I said, well, let's think about it.

-That's good.

-So we started listing the things he needed. He needed to understand how to manage. Money He needed to understand sales and marketing, brand identity.

-Bringing value to--

-He needed to understand all these various things, and I said, OK, now all of those are things you need to know. Many of those are things you can learn right here and skills you can master right here. Let's get to work on you, and I guarantee you, he was way more motivated while he worked for me.

-This is huge, because I think you're giving us specific action items right here. For you, you're the Thriver that asked this question. If you are--

-Go Ducks. In Oregon.

-In Oregon. You're saying that the first one though is to connect reason, purpose.


-Meaning, yeah. There's got to be something about the work that connects with you, and if no one else is talking about that, then you're probably not thinking about that. So it's up to us as the leaders to continually remind people why what they're doing matters.

-OK, so that first action item is to remind people why they're doing what they're doing.


-And the second action item you gave was to show interest in the people and their interests.

-Absolutely, because if you want them interested in you and the job, you've got to be interested in them. It's like my son said years ago when he worked at Mailboxes, Etc. that's now a UPS Store. He said, dad, I noticed something. The people who get the most mail send the most mail... Workforce Education Tulsa Community College.

-I love it.


-Jim, you are a wizard, and you're knowledge is blowing my mind. Thank you so much.

-My pleasure. Thank


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