Creating the Chief Meaning Officer

How to find your generosity gene and create a work environment that people love.

Creating the Chief Meaning Officer

'Work is fun. And your job is to make it fun if you're a leader.' - Jack Welch

One of the legendary CEOs of our time, Jack Welch, is a brilliant mind on the topics of leadership and management. Recently while watching one of his clips, something struck me as so simple and yet so uncommon.

Everyone talks about leadership and management, but rarely does anyone discuss perhaps the most important aspect of motivation: 'what's in it for me to achieve these targets?' Now, the simple answer is 'you get to keep your job' and that's where the conversation usually ends… but extraordinary leaders understand that in order to achieve a target and rally support, they need to explain what the reward is for the extra hard work involved to excel. Otherwise, the incentive is the same whether you do mediocre work or excellent work.

According to Jack, the role of a leader is to determine the vision and direction of a company and to let everyone know:

  • Where you're going
  • Why you're going there
  • What's in it for them to get there with you

In order to answer this, you need to have what he calls a 'generosity gene'. This means that you've got to love to see people get promoted, and love people's success. You've got to feel great when giving raises and bonuses and smile at the fact that you are improving the lives of the people who work for you because they are committed to reaching the objective with you.

Make work fun everyday, celebrate small victories all the time, 'find all kinds of ways to win'. Find reasons to bring in a cake or take the team out for dinner. You'll see that the little victories will lead to big victories.

'We found a way to bring a cake in on everything!' - Jack Welch

So, if your goal is to motivate your people to put forward maximum performance so that your organization can exceed its targets, maybe it's time to clearly explain what incentive is in it for your employees if they put forth 100% instead of 75% effort. Mmmmmaybe it's time that as leaders, we become the Chief Meaning Officer.

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