What Happens When Everyone Is Working With a Sense of Purpose?

Meaningful work hinges on your perspective.

Summary
Transcript

In this backstage video from Leadercast Women 2018, Marilyn Tam—leadership consultant, author, and former executive at Aveda, Nike and Reebok—describes a time when one employee’s defined purpose led a company to save millions of dollars annually. 

“I was talking to a call center person,” shares Marilyn. “I said, ‘What do you do?’ And she said, ‘I solve problems and I make people happy.’ She took her job, which basically is handling complaints most of the time, and she turned it around and said, ‘I solve problems and I make people happy.’ And because of that, her job was really meaningful for her.”

Watch the video to hear the full story on how the worker was able to cut costs for the company and why purpose is critical for employees and their organizations.

One day I was talking to a call center person and this person basically sits in and takes calls all day. And it's really a very difficult job because you have most people calling up and saying, "You're great." They're usually calling in with a complaint. And so I was talking to this, actually it was a woman, and I said, "What do you do?" And she said, "I solve problems and I make people happy."

She took her job, which basically is handling complaints most of the time, and she turned it around and said, "I solve problems and I make people happy." And because of that, her job was really meaningful for her. And so each person may have a job. It's how you look at it and how you find a bigger purpose. And when I talked to her some more, she actually has some good ideas about how her work impacted the company, because she gave us feedback on packaging, which you never think somebody in the call center…

But she said, "You know, our packaging is too big. People are saying that there's too much packaging and it was wasteful." And she found a way that helped the company save over almost $10 million a year. Because from the packaging discussion, we could reduce the number of containers we use for shipping, and all because this one person did not think her job was handling complaints.

And so from a very small thing, it grew to impacting millions of dollars a year in the company thanks to one person's perspective of what her job was, and it was not just about handling complaints.

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