Why Do We Do What We Do?

Last month’s post explored common characteristics of entrepreneurial resilience, passion, and ideally, success.  Success being a person or thing that achieves desired outcomes or prosperity, resilience to stay the course even when adversity hits, and passion to produce the results that bring a positive impact to the lives of people.  But why?   When there is no foolproof strategy for entrepreneurial greatness, why do we do what we do?

Consider the concept of “Labor Day” – a public holiday and day of festivities held in honor of working people and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American Workers.  Labor Day constitutes a yearly nation-wide tribute to the commitment and contribution workers havtwowaystreete made to the prosperity, strength, and foundational well-being of this country. Without workers, America would seemingly cease to exist!  Since the vast majority of Americans work for a living, and small businesses employee 53 percent of the workforce, where does the motivation come from to stay the course?

Why do American’s work so hard?  Why do we never give up?  Why does the drive for more success both energize and exhaust you?  While there are no simple answers to these questions, the short answer is working hard is good for you when you know what you are working hard to achieve. Easier said than done?  Not necessarily.  Working hard has the potential to bring the greatest rewards, enhance your life and the lives of others, and reap financial stability, but only if some universally basic needs are being met.  While not all needs mean the same thing to all people, a few are driving forces.

The search for SIGNIFICANCE.   Significance is the quality of being worthy of attention, to have meaning, and a matter of importance.   When something is significant, it is memorable and leaves an impact.   In business, many people find significance by uncovering a problem or need, solving the problem, connecting people to the solution, and producing acceptance/ approval.  It is no surprise that being recognized for supporting the greater good of the business is the single highest driver of a committed and engaged workforce.  Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up, makes them feel safe, and allows them to focus on their best work.   Engagement2

GROWTH.  As entrepreneurs, the ability to grow a company depends on your ability to help others grow. When leaders invest and commit to developing capabilities, not only for themselves, but for their employees, the company will always evolve.  Companies grow when the population inside of them grows first. Without organizational and personal growth, morale, turnover, and burnout spikes.  Entrepreneurs need new ideas, new behaviors, and new skill sets to help employees find more balance, motivation, and fulfillment in everyday living.  Growth, both professionally and personally, leads to a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace.  

CONTRIBUTION…Not the 401K retirement-matching type of contribution, but rather bottom- line impact contribution.   Since progress and growth bring happiness, employees need a goal to have more purpose.  Being efficient and cost-effective are invaluable, but without a goal, actions may resemble aimless contributions.   Employees want purpose behind what they do, along with measurable and obtainable goals in order to measure their personal contribution to outcomes.   Employees want a chance to make a difference, have their ideas heard, and to matter to the organization.  Survey after survey continues to demonstrate that employees want to know how their work contributes to the overall success of the company.  Once employees understand their impact on the big-picture, they become more focused, driven, and empowered to be a major force on the growth and success of the company.  Employees who work with passion are the ones who drive innovation, deliver higher quality work, and take more initiative.  Engaged employees work harder because they can see what their contributions mean to the success of the organization!


– Susan Amsler
– August 10, 2017

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