One of the most consistently liberating processes I facilitate for senior leadership teams, is to get the leadership team to stop doing what they don’t want to do and only do the aspects of the business they love doing. Once we’ve got the leadership doing the work they love doing, we then move on to everyone else in the business, at all levels.
It’s an incredibly powerful, transformational process, that brings many benefits and it can turbo-charge effectiveness and performance throughout the business.
The first step towards doing this is for the senior leadership to make a commitment to only doing the work that they love. This (doing work that you care passionately about) is one of the 5 key elements to finding your ‘Flow’ at work (see my blog here for more about ‘Flow’) and it’s this that drives the performance gains.
Recently I’ve been working with the leadership team at Thornton’s Budgens to help them find their Flow, uncover the work that they love doing, as well as retaining all of the benefit derived from their unique skillset and work / life experience. We’ve had some truly illuminating sessions in which each person in the senior team has admitted what they really dislike doing at work, but were maybe too fearful to admit before. And by letting go of what they dislike doing, they’ve made room for doing more of the work they authentically love doing.
Make no mistake; this transformation doesn’t happen overnight. The process of identifying the work you love doing takes time in itself. Thereafter it takes a further period of careful planning and a transition period in which to handover what you don’t love doing to others in the business. I’m here to say it’s well worth taking that journey!
Here are some of the key benefits of only doing the work you love:
1) Show, Don’t Tell
Once the leadership is doing the work they love, we will move on to everyone else in the team. They will follow if they see you lead and when they do, the benefits will be magnified throughout your business.
2) Motivation And Purpose
People who are happy doing their work perform much better than those that are not. And the process of uncovering what you love doing also shows you why that work matters to you – it uncovers your purpose. A workforce that knows why their work matters to them and loves doing it, is intrinsically self-motivating.
The work you don’t enjoy doing represents work that someone else will love doing; delegation becomes an empowering process that supports authenticity at the workplace. People work best when they don’t feel the pressure to conform to a stereotype and are encouraged to be themselves.
The quality of performance rises as a result of us working on activities that we care passionately about doing. The amount of time spent managing quality control is slashed when everyone is only doing the work they love.
Yes, it’s not always straightforward to get this done. Sadly some people may need to leave your business as you discover that your business can’t provide the work they would love to do. But wouldn’t you rather know about these issues and deal with them, than have them lying unnoticed and affecting performance? It’s incredibly important to handle these issues compassionately and if you do that, you’ll be helping an individual find work elsewhere that provides the deeply satisfying opportunity they crave. Over time, they’ll probably thank you!