March 7, 2006

Meaning and Motivation

Posted by Bizaholic | 9:54 PM | with 4 comments »

Leadership blog has an execellent post on 'Meaningful Work'. It makes an argument that meaning is the secret ingredient in motivation.

I would say, perceived meaning in work is the pillar on which motivation rests. It is not meaning or meaninglessness but perceived meaning or meaninglessness that matters in determining motivation level of people. Work without perceived meaning is worthless and demotivating. If people perceive that what they are doing is essentially meaningless then their motivation level sinks. On the other hand, if they perceive their work to have a worthy meaning or purpose their motivation level rises.

At individual level, many things may seem meaningless even though some of them may be essential at group level. In such scenario, ample doses of infused meaning or purpose can work miracle in enhancing motivation of people. Spicing a seeminly uninteresting and meaningless work with enthusiasm and excitement can bring out meaning that glues individuals to their work. And here comes one of the most integral roles of a leader - to infuse meaning to meaninglessness by creating a shared purpose, vision, and goal.

The key to motivation is perceived meaning!


  1. Atul // March 8, 2006 at 10:04 AM  

    completely agree. Perceived meaningful work ignites passion & gets us to give the best. How to create meaning in day 2 day work life is a challenge though. The art of story telling might be needed from modern leaders besides pure strategy & analysis.

  2. Sachin // March 8, 2006 at 7:23 PM  

    Very true. Art of story-telling is an integral part of leadership.

    Another thing which is worth noticing is the 'Vision' aspect of it; which Krishna has pointed out in his post. I think most of the 'various' things attributed to brilliant leadership gets taken care on their own if this Vision part is in place. But getting others to 'believe' in your vision and have them make it their own ambition must be the toughest part.

    One guy who did it flawlessly was Alexander.

  3. Mayank Krishna // March 8, 2006 at 10:07 PM  

    Exactly! Moreover, story telling can be an entertaining way to motivate people and effectively communicate vision.

    With a good story-telling leader in charge, work can be made fun without diverting the focus from shared vision.

  4. Atul // March 18, 2006 at 12:16 AM  

    While I agree with the Vision part of comment from Sachin, just want to highlight that off late "Execution" has emerged as the missing link in Strategy. A book by same name by Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan brings this out very lucidly