The Greatest Words You've Never Heard Buy the book

The New Employee … Partner in Purpose?

Posted · 1 Comment
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestBuffer this pagePrint this pageEmail this to someone

Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)

By Steve Kayser

Comes a time in everyone’s life to move on. Whether it’s from a relationship, job or life itself.

Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes not. I’ve done it recently myself and found it to be a wonderful breath of fresh air and new way of life.

I’m starting a new company called “Creative Strokes,” which will have a business model similar to the Navy’s Seal Team Six combat model. The best, most highly trained and experienced people will be assembled into a team to work with businesses for specific high-impact business development projects, whether it be with marketing, PR, social media, content creation, TV, or radio.

But this post isn’t about Creative Strokes.


It’s about people looking for meaning and purpose in work. I’m throwing this out there more as a question than anything else.


What type of employee would YOU want to help you in a startup? Or in growing a business? A struggling business? A dying business?

Certainly someone with drive and…


In “Outliers: The Story of Success,” by Malcolm Gladwell, a section of the book talks about three requirements that allow us to be happy and fulfilled with the work we do. They are…


What does that mean- complexity? Pretty simple. The work engages your mind. It allows you to dream, create, re-create, and be responsible for decisions and directions. This in direct contrast to work that treats you like a human machine. A cog with no purpose beside function. That type of environment creates GoMo’s … people who go through the motion but are not engaged.


This is incredibly important.  You need to be able to work and create without a Napoleonic Overlord looking over your shoulder nitpicking or micro-managing.

Great works are born in chaos, confusion and high energy … not in a micro-managing work environment.

Relationship between effort and reward.

Think about that. How many jobs have that now? The harder I work, the more I make?How many people have seen “across the board cuts” in jobs or budgets, no matter how well the person or group was doing? Penalizing all, instead of praising and raising the performers?

What human being does not respond to a direct relationship between effort and reward?

I like Gladwell’s CAR … although he didn’t call it that. I needed something to remember it by, hence the acronym. But his CAR is missing something. A…


I interviewed Guy Kawasaki a while back about his book “Enchantment:The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions .” Guy has an excellent vision of creating fulfilling and meaningful work FOR employees. It’s call a MAP.


Give employees the right skills, abilities and time to gain complete dominion over their job. Allow them to go off the farm and continually learn about new things, new ways to do their job. This works, with one small caveat. The person has to be motivated and an auto-didact. Have the energy and gumption to teach themselves on their own time – and enjoy it.


Pretty much the same as Malcolm Gladwell. You need the freedom to learn and the freedom to fail. The freedom to pick yourself up after a disaster and move forward, without some nitpicking Napoleonic autocrat bugging you.

If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results. – General George S. Patton

But some people truly don’t like autonomy. They need structure to tell them what to do, how to do it and when to do it. This is the mindset of the past. It worked for the industrial age. But not for this meltdown of an economic job-shedding mess we’re in. The future belongs to energetic autodidacts. Ones that need only be pointed in the right direction – and then they ask you not to block their way. Ones that will create new processes, new businesses, new breakthroughs and ultimately new industries – if you only stay out of their way.


If you combine mastery of the job with autonomy you’re doing pretty good. If you’re living that life it’s a pretty good gig. But the missing ingredient, according to Guy, is purpose. Being a part of something bigger than yourself. Making a difference in the world.  A dedicated, fire-breathing believer in something that matters. This, I think, is the hardest part. Especially in these times. What if you have a job that sucks. A job with low pay, no advancement possibilities, or toxic work environment? One ruled by sycophantic drones that only have their job because of nepotism?  And you’re treated like a mindless automaton, or smart, but ultimately meaningless serf?

Whatever you are, be a good one. - Abraham Lincoln

That’s tough. But I think you can do it. Simply focus on doing the best you can at what you do, while planning your escape from the soul-sucking situation.


You don’t need employees these days. Relegate that serfdom term, employee, to the dustbin of mediocrity.

You need people who want to passionately drive the CAR with their MAP to work.


These are not employees.

These are partners in purpose.

What could be better?


Flickr Photo courtesy of AlicePopkorn, licenseAttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved


One Response to "The New Employee … Partner in Purpose?"
  1. J.D. Meier says:

    Yes, partners of purpose.
    I’ve been looking at how to more aggressively integrate passion, purpose, and profit.  
    I think it’s the rise of a new model in our emerging digital economy.

Comments are closed.