Why do you do what you do? In these trying times, it’s easy enough to say that you go to work to get your paycheck. Maybe you work where you do because you know you’re guaranteed benefits like health insurance. Perhaps you work where you do because you simply haven’t spent the time to try to find another job somewhere else, or maybe the status quo has become too comfortable for you to really think about leaving to do something else. In his book The Commitment Engine, John Jantsch argues that if these are the primary reasons you get up in the morning, well, you might have a hard time getting up in the morning. Paychecks are nice, benefits are essential (one could argue) but these things are not enough to make you commit, truly, to where you work.
To encourage you/us to think about why we do what we do, Jantsch suggests that there are four new Ps to consider. If you’re a marketer or if you have studied marketing at all you are probably aware of the 4 Ps of marketing – product, price, place, and promotion. Jantsch has reformulated that time-tested structure into something new – Passion, Purpose, Proposition, and Personality.
How can thinking about these 4 new “p-words” help you define (or redefine) your commitment to your work? Let’s dig into each one in a bit more detail.
There are two ways passion can play a part in your job. What you do can represent one of your passions, or what you do can pave the way for you to support one of your passions. Even the latter is better than simply remaining in the status quo so you can earn your paycheck. Consider setting a goal, perhaps to travel, and tie that passion for travel to your daily work. The ideal scenario though, of course, is to do work that feeds your soul. This does not have to be as dramatic as you might think. Simply feeling that what you are doing is positive and worthwhile can be a game-changer. Factually, passion for your work is not just good for you, it’s also good for your customers or clients. It’s easy to tell when a person is satisfied to their core with what they’re doing, just as it’s easy to tell when a person is simply going through the motions. If your customer feels you don’t really care, what is their motivation to care?
It might seem like any kind of work you engage in would have a purpose, but to really commit to yourself and your work, you need to find purpose with a capital P. The example Jantsch gives is a custodial company that discovered its real purpose was helping its employees improve their lives. That is not something intuitive, but it was the answer to a question they didn’t even know existed at first. Dig deep and see what your true purpose is, or what you want it to be. And don’t worry if you’re not the boss or owner of your company. You can bring your own purpose to your individual job, or you can even float ideas to the top so long as they are carefully thought through and well-presented. What might seem like a basic reason for your company to exist could actually evolve into a very positive purpose for everyone to be there.
This is kind of cheating because really what John Jantsch means here is (value) proposition. But what does that mean? In The Commitment Engine, this is defined as using your purpose to position your company. It means staying true to your purpose while also assisting your customers in ways that might not put money in your pocket. If you’re in a service industry like we are as a marketing firm, you have probably experienced this before. When someone asks you for advice or asks if you can do something for them, you have a choice. You can stretch the truth a bit, say “Yes we do that,” and end up botching the job, or you can truly prove your value by saying, “You know, you want to contact xyz about that. They do good work. Tell ’em we referred you.” Which do you think is of more value to your customer? That’s your value proposition in a nutshell.
No, this is not about being a “human brand” per se. What this means is that in order to infuse a sense of commitment throughout your work-life or throughout your company, you need to walkthe walk as well as talk the talk. In other words, if you say that your purpose is to make peoples’ lives easier, you don’t want to have a customer service department that keeps people on hold for 2 hours. If you say that your purpose is to make the best product in your industry, you don’t want to rush the job and create something that is sub-par. Talk is easy. Actions are priceless – and they are far more memorable. Your working personality is borne from the other Ps we’ve discussed. When you know your purpose, your passion, and the value you offer others, your personality is easy to mold.
Can you work every day without these 4 Ps in tow? Of course you can. But can you truly commit to your work without these 4 Ps? That seems like a question worth pondering.
Do you have passion for what you do and/or why you do it? Does your company have a purpose that extends beyond what it simply does? How did you come to those realizations? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisinplymouth/4714171888/ via Creative Commons