4 September 2017
A company’s values and corporate mission statements are fundamental to any organization. But how relevant are they for your salesteam, day in and day out? Inspiring as they may be, do these values and statements contribute to your team’s inner sense of purpose?
Leaders have a chance to help their employees discover meaning and cultivate a sense of purpose at work by starting a simple conversation, using the action identification theory developed by Robin R. Vallacher & Daniel M. Wegner. This theory is a system of 3 principles suggesting an operating system or program for a human being which links thought to action.
Action Identification Theory Infographic
Think of it this way, right now you are:
- “looking at a screen”
- “reading an article”
- “absorbing information and knowledge”
- “enhancing your company’s performance”
- “contributing to society”
- “making the world a better place”
An employee can have several ways of identifying, interpreting, and describing their actions. By harnessing the knowledge of the action identification theory, you can help them find meaning in even the most seemingly dull tasks by adjusting how they perceive and understand their actions.
Below are 5 questions to stimulate your reflection and ideas on leadership and how to approach and use this technique with your employees.
What are you really good at?
- Are there tasks or work activities that require little effort for you?
- What do others come to you for help with because you’re the best person to do it?
- In your career, what makes you stand out or get noticed?
By asking these questions, you can help people identify their strengths and assess their talent.
What do you enjoy doing?
- What excites you at work?
- Is there something you look forward to doing every day?
- When you look at your calendar, what energizes you?
- Can you describe what the perfect way to spend time at work looks like for you?
Here are some suggestions to help your employees remember what they love about their work in the first place.
What makes you feel proud?
- Can you tell me about your results and accomplishments that feel the most rewarding?
- Which of your assignments and responsibilities do you think are most crucial to the organization?
- In your life, which priorities are highest and what role does your gratifying work play?
These questions can facilitate you in focusing the conversation on the value and importance of specific tasks and responsibilities that compose your employee’s job.
Are you feeling a sense of progress and advancement?
- How are you planning to use the knowledge you’re gaining now in the future?
- What do you see as the next step in your career?
- Do you feel that your work is helping you move forward to achieve what you want?
By asking questions similar to these, you will not only show interest in your employee’s future and dreams, but also help them realize that the work they do today is valuable and advantageous to their long-term objectives.
How do you relate to others?
- Can you think of any colleagues or teams that you perform best with?
- Which working collaborations do you prefer?
- Have you noticed if/how your work enhances your family and personal relationships?
Finally, bringing up talking points about the individuals in an employee’s professional and private life can trigger a thought process that empowers people to reflect on themselves in relation to others. This can prove to be insightful for employees on both ends of the spectrum—from those who feel entitled to those who lack confidence. These questions can also can inspire your employess to not only initiate new connections, but nurture existing relationships. A stronger community and support system in a person’s life has endless advantages, including a fortified sense of meaning and purpose in one’s work.
Guiding your sales reps to find a sense of inner purpose and meaning in work may not sound so simple.
But it’s far from impossible. It all starts with a conversation.