You spend more than half your life at work. And you want your work to make an impact and have a purpose, to be more than just a salary. You want to make it count.
Before You Get Going . . . If you don’t know where you’re starting from, it can be tough to get to where you want to go.
Everyone can do more Great Work. Everything we do falls into three basic categories: • Bad Work • Good Work • Great Work.
· Bad Work is a waste of time, energy, and life.
· Good Work is the familiar, useful, productive work you do—and you likely do it well.
· Great Work is what we all want more of. This is the work that is meaningful to you, that has an impact and makes a difference. It inspires, stretches, and provokes. Great Work is the work that matters.
The truth is there is no perfect mix. Finding the right mix between your Good Work and Great Work (with no Bad Work) is the practice of a lifetime.
1. Great Work decays. Over time, Great Work decays into Good Work. As Great Work becomes comfortable and familiar as you master it, it no longer provides the challenge, stretch, or rewards it once did.
2. Good Work has its attractions. Even as we hunger for more Great Work, we’re always drawn back to the comfort of Good Work. It’s a perpetual tension—the challenge, risk, and reward of the Great against the familiarity, efficiency, and safety of the Good.
3. Different years demand different responses. Some years are “stretch” years when you go for it; others are years to conserve your strength, gathering ideas and laying the groundwork for your next initiative.
Maps help you ask and answer questions. Maps help you take action.
1. Make the maps yours.
2. Find five minutes in your day.
3. Use the maps in the order that makes sense to you.
4. Don’t worry about getting it perfect.
In fact, there’s no such thing as a correct map. “The map,” philosopher Alfred Korzybski once said, “is not the territory.” Your map isn’t reality; it’s only your best guess at describing it.
Six Great Work Paradoxes
1. YOU DON’T NEED TO SAVE THE WORLD. YOU DO NEED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
But it is a call to do more meaningful work. What can you do more of that makes a difference, shifts the balance, has an impact, adds beauty, changes the status quo, creates something worth being created, improves life, moves things forward, reduces waste, engages people, or allows love? (You don’t have to do all of those. Just one will be fine.)
2. GREAT WORK IS PRIVATE. GREAT WORK CAN BE PUBLIC.
3. GREAT WORK IS NEEDED. GREAT WORK ISN’T WANTED.
Great Work shows up at the intersection where what needs to change in your world meets what’s important to you.
4. GREAT WORK IS EASY. GREAT WORK IS DIFFICULT.
5. GREAT WORK IS ABOUT DOING WHAT’S MEANINGFUL. GREAT WORK ISN’T ABOUT DOING IT WELL.
When I say “Great Work,” I’m not talking about a standard of delivery. I’m talking about a standard of impact and meaning.
6. GREAT WORK CAN TAKE A MOMENT. GREAT WORK CAN TAKE A LIFETIME.
These definitions are all true. They’re all equally important.
MAP 1 Where Are You Now? To get to a destination, you need to know your starting point
Great Work Wisdom TOWARD ABUNDANCE
1. WHAT AM I KNOWN FOR? (IDENTITY)
Abundant organizations build on strengths and abilities that strengthen others.
2. WHERE AM I GOING? (PURPOSE AND DIRECTION)
Abundant organizations sustain both fiscal and social responsibility.
3. WHOM DO I TRAVEL WITH? (TEAMWORK)
Abundant organizations take work relationships beyond high-performing teams to high-relating teams.
4. WHAT CHALLENGES INTEREST ME? (ENGAGEMENT)
Abundance occurs when companies can engage not only employees’ skills (competence) and loyalty (commitment), but also their values (contribution).
5. HOW DO I BUILD A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT? (EFFECTIVE CONNECTION)
Abundant organizations create positive work environments that affirm and connect people throughout the organization.
HOW DO I RESPOND TO SETBACKS? (RESILIENCE AND LEARNING)
Abundant organizations use principles of resilience and learning to persevere with both people and products.
7. WHAT DELIGHTS ME? (CIVILITY AND DELIGHT)
Abundant organizations not only attend to outward demographic diversity but also to the diversity of what makes individuals feel happy, cared for, and excited about life.
8. HOW DO I MANAGE THE TRANSITIONS NECESSITATED BY CHANGE? (ENABLING TRANSITION)
Abundant organizations help individuals internalize the behavioral, cognitive, and affective transitions necessitated by change.
MAP 2 What’s Great? Your past holds clues to your future Great Work
A peak moment is a time when you could see and feel yourself doing something more than what you typically do, when you stepped beyond where you normally stay and did something new, tried something different, and made an impact. How our peak moments look and feel is unique to each of us. That’s one of the paradoxes and complexities of Great Work. You do not need to get paid to do Great Work. We can never know that for sure. You’ll never know everything about who you are, and you’ll never be able to completely describe what you want. But we can’t wait forever. So we have to guess and take the plunge.
MAP 3 What Are You Like at Your Best? What Great and Not So Great look like
MAP 4 Who’s Great? Tap the power of role models
Focusing on the being rather than the doing also prevents us from giving up, knowing we could never equal the performance. Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey speak of our “immunity to change” in their book of the same title. Their powerful insight is that while we might want to behave differently (for example, be more assertive in meetings) in order to achieve a new goal (be more influential in the team), the way we’re behaving right now (being quiet and passive in meetings) serves another, deeper, and often unspoken goal or commitment (for instance, being seen as a team player, being liked, or building a reputation as a noncomplainer). Toward or away from—each of us has a different driver of intrinsic motivation. Some of us are motivated primarily by what we might gain from a situation. We’re goal driven, pulled toward opportunities and an outcome. This “toward” motivation is often about external rewards—money, success, fame, material possessions. But it can also be about internal rewards, such as honoring your values, having the impact you want in the world, rising to a challenge, or gaining control over a situation. Some of us, on the other hand, are motivated by what we will avoid if we achieve our goals. Again, that can be externally driven (not being told off by your boss, not disappointing the team) or it can be internally driven (not stepping on your values, not breaking a promise). It doesn’t really matter which type you are. What can be useful is knowing where you get your drive to do more Great Work. If you’re a “toward” sort of person, then you can use that knowledge to actively define goals that will pull you toward Great Work. If you know you’re an “away from” type, then you can figure out exactly what you need to manage and avoid in your quest for Great Work.
MAP 5 What’s Calling You? Scan your life for Great Work opportunities
MAP 6 What’s Broken? What pains you can also inspire you
MAP 7 What’s Required? Balance the competing demands of your life
not to focus on saying no but rather on saying yes more slowly. Yogi Berra, always a font of wisdom, is alleged to have said, “In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”
MAP 8 What’s the Best Choice? This, that, or the other?
There’s a basic pattern, a rhythm, to the creative process, a backbeat driving the emergence of ideas: Out. In. Expand. Contract. Diverge. Converge. Create. Select. You open up, expand possibilities, and have ideas (out, expand, diverge, create). Then you narrow your focus, close down options, and make a choice (in, contract, converge, select). And repeat.
MAP 9 What’s Possible? Find the idea-generator within you
MAP 10 What’s the Right Ending? Explore different ways forward
As the saying goes, “It’s not that you’ll believe it when you see it, it’s that you’ll see it when you believe it.”
MAP 11 How Courageous Are You? Take it to 11
In every case, however, making a choice is an act of independence in which you take, as author Peter Block puts it, “responsibility for your own freedom.”
MAP 12 What Will You Do? Inspiration without action is just hot air
MAP 13 What Support DO You Need? Doing Great Work by yourself means it’s not Great Work
MAP 14 What’s the Next Step? Put the Do into Do More Great Work
“You can’t do a project. You can only do the next step.” If you really don’t want to find a real-live person to support you, consider using stickK.com (yes, it’s got a double K), a wonderful accountability tool. You’ll register your commitment and set yourself regular periods to check in and report on progress. You can build a support team to monitor how you’re doing. And you can put your money where you mouth is by putting cash on the line. If you reach your self-designated milestones, your money’s safe. If you don’t, it goes to a charity you’ve chosen. I’ve included resources you can find at the www.DoMoreGreatWork.com website, as well as a list of the very best books and Web resources I know to expand your knowledge and your ability to do more Great Work.
MAP 15 Lost Your Great Work Mojo? When you wander off the path
GREAT WORK TRUTH 1: Things only get interesting when you take full responsibility for the choices you make.
GREAT WORK TRUTH 2: To do more Great Work you must both narrow and broaden your gaze.
GREAT WORK TRUTH 3: Decide what to say no to.
GREAT WORK TRUTH 4: Stop making everyone happy.
GREAT WORK TRUTH 5: Ask for help.
You can see these Great Work truths played out in living color at www.GreatWorkMovie.com.