• The Link Between Purpose and Skills to Create Engagement

    The Link Between Purpose and Skills to Create Engagement


    You would have seen this before.  A highly skilled person who’s just not loving their work, nor getting as much done as you would expect.  Or what about the purpose who is incredibly passionate about their work but lacks the skills necessary to really engage, they’re not working at the level they desire.  Each of these scenarios reflects the real world of work and its limiting the performance of many of our teams and organisations.  The reasons are many and varied but they do seem to be perpetuated in our current organisational models of leadership and employee development.

    The good news is that we, you, can do something about this.

    I have developed this model to highlight the interplay between purpose and skills.  High levels of purpose or skills on their own are not enough to produce stellar results, combine the two and the sky’s the limit!!

    Starting in the bottom left quadrant you have an individual who has low skills and low sense of purpose about their work. As you can imagine this is indicative of a poor job fit and they probably should not have been hired for that role in the first place.  I shudder to think how many people end up in this desperate position (trust me, it’s as bad for them as it is for the team).  Seriously consider helping this person to move on.

    The ideal location, where individuals are more likely to experience ‘flow’ states and to be highly engaged in their work is the top-right hand quadrant.  These people are committed and willingly contribute their discretionary effort towards your goals.  Stat’s still indicate low percentages of the workforce are in this quadrant, so there’s a good chance you could benefit from looking at the next two groups.

    If you look at the top left quadrant you can see that skills are much higher but still low levels of purpose.  This individual who puts in the effort, has the know-how to do the job but personally gains little intrinsic reward.  This usually results in dissatisfaction and less than optimum performance.   The recommended intervention in this case is coaching which will help the individual to clarify their purpose and attempt to align it with the opportunities or goals of their employer.

    Now take a look at the bottom right hand quadrant and you have someone who has high purpose but low skills.  This person is considered wasted potential.  They want to do more, are committed to the cause but lack the necessary skills to do what they want to be doing for your organisation.  The solution for this individual is often specific skills development, either through formal training and development or through workplace assignments and projects.

    Scan your team (or yourself) and let me know where you think they fit.



    Please help me to spread the word by sharing.

      Sean is an experienced coach, speaker and facilitator who is passionate about improving the relationship between people, their work and the organisations they work for. If you want to get the most out of your managers, supervisors and their teams and think that work can or should be a rewarding and enjoyable component of a productive and meaningful life it might be worth a chat.

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