How Are You Rewarded For Your Performance? Part 4
I was sitting with a dear friend the other day, talking about the future of the building industry, and what opportunities lay ahead of him in particular. He is a very fine trim carpenter, looking to expand his horizons and bring his skills with him into a new pursuit. The conversation was long, involved some fine beverages, and went long into the night. The more we talked, the more it became plain to us both that reward for our work is intimately wound up with how a person views the entirety of their life, what they hold dear and consider most valuable, and how they choose to portion out their time and inner sense of passion.
It is possible, as my friend discovered, to pour passion into something which never pays you back, never really gives you what you thought you’d receive. I’m speaking not of work, but of all life. Every day is an investment of a precious, irreplaceable resource we never paid a cent for – our time. Whether we are ready for it or not, the sun rises each day and life goes on, with all its various opportunities and setbacks. Our work is only one venue for our passion, but most folks set aside their best waking hours to serving others, through paid, constructive work, and for good reason.
One reward is an ability to financially support our families, our plans and dreams. This is enough to be thankful for. But who doesn’t want to also be thankful for what they do, not just getting paid for doing it? Who doesn’t want to be rewarded in the doing? For those with this desire, a curious circle can develop with a little effort, and it begins with a desire for excellence.
Your desire for excellence can come to life in a variety of different expressions, according to the nature of your personality. You are a unique person! As such you may value personal connection, or verbal affirmation, or reliability and consistency, or any combination of these. Expressing these values yourself, through the manner in which you execute your work is an effort, and it is an effort toward excellence! As you achieve higher standards for expressing your desire for affirmation or consistency in your work, for example, you will enjoy a higher level of satisfaction in its execution, and more gratification at your ability to share those values with other people. This increases your desire for excellence, which increases your profile and attractiveness to customers, which perpetuates an upward spiral.
If we play this out, an ideal business world would be filled with interesting and unique individuals who were “excellent” at their craft, who enjoyed improving themselves… that is, if you were open to defining excellence as we have. And yet, sadly, many individuals feel trapped in a situation where their desire for excellence and performance is NOT rewarded.
The structure of many businesses is one where the company is jealous of the performance of its workers, and seeks to decouple their desire from greater opportunity. A corporation makes more profit, the more it increases the difference between the output of each worker and its actual market value. There is no reason for an individual to pursue excellence, when the rewards are the same, and performance is only judged by some numerical scheme.
So what’s the answer? A working environment where people are encouraged to reward themselves for their best efforts. How? By first recognizing the values that define them as people, and then in giving them the freedom to express those values in a way that directly impacts others for good. Freedom to be compassionate, to be expressive, to be productive, to be empathetic.
Are you rewarded in this way in your work? Is it because of the working environment? Or is it, perhaps, because you haven’t taken the time to step back, have that late night conversation with a dear friend, and decide what your true values are? Do you know what you find rewarding and enjoyable in others? Have you made an effort to express those values in your work? Because in the end, the only person who can find reward in your work is YOU.
Read part 1 in this series here.
Read part 2 in this series here.
Read part 3 in this series here.
Stay tuned for part 5 in this series.
Jonathon Landell – Design Professional
Gould Design, Inc.