The Human Element – What Does that Mean?

March 5, 2015 | Communication, Leadership

Throughout, we find the term the “human element”. The “human element” at its foundation is about adding passion and purpose to your job, career, vocation, business, school, or place of worship.  A phone menu system designed to improve customer service, a statement reporting a company’s financial health, and a business development plan only have a purpose if someone has defined it and all three items do not possess passion by themselves. No object or idea possesses passion without people.

Some people do not struggle finding purpose or passion in their work. I was fortunate enough to help found a company that provided Primary Care treatment to Veterans. This is not a hard job/career to find purpose and passion.  Serving those who served for our country is a very noble cause. However, I believe this to be the exception, not the rule with most jobs.  Another early career move found me working in a very specific manufacturing sector where we made iron and brass parts.  I can remember looking at a finished part and having no idea what its final purpose would be.  In this instance, one can see how finding purpose and passion can be tough.  I remember asking some of my co-workers, “What does that part do?”  Some responded, “As long as I’m getting paid $10.00, I don’t much care.”  Others would say, “This is a part that we make for Customer X.  They are one of the leading suppliers in the heavy truck industry.  This part acts as a housing for their alternator.”  Which one do you think felt more purpose and passion in their position?

My point is not to throw the less passionate employee “under the bus”.  No one may not have “connected the dots” for them as Quint Studer defined it in Results that Last. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Rachel Feintzeig titled “I Don’t Have a Job, I Have a Higher Calling” asked the question, “Are you a bricklayer or a cathedral builder?”  See how connecting the dots can change one’s outlook? The article also indicated that an employee with a leader that talked about the impact the company had on society was 42.4% more likely to describe their place as a good place to work.  Furthermore, among leaders who connected the dots, 68% indicated of their direct reports rarely consider a career change outside their organization; among leaders that don’t only 38% rarely consider a career change. Connecting the dots also ensures that purpose and passion provide motivation to get us through the tough days but also drive us to achieve excellence everyday.

How do you infuse purpose and passion into your own career?  How do you help infuse it into those who either work with you or directly report to you?

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