“… because when you do, the 2nd priority you give to me is better.”
When I was a young manager, I was taught to give everything I had to my work, with the goal of creating a career for myself above all else. Professional 1st, personal 2nd (and separate).
My generation’s elders — my parents, my teachers, my sports coaches, my workplace mentors — valued work ethic above all else as their ethos: It had proved fruitful for them, and they sincerely believed it would prove fruitful for me too. I trusted in their good intentions, knowing they genuinely cared for me, and I believed that I’d be wise to learn from them and from their work history, seeking to duplicate their success within my own life.
I was taught that diligent work ethic led to character building, and that character building essentially amounted to “earning your keep” as how a person belonged to a civil society. A diligent work ethic would therefore result in shaping one’s functional personality as well; simply said, a good investment in work ethic would be a good investment in “growing up to be a responsible and productive adult.”
I did what I was told, and there’s no denying that I did benefit from their wisdom. However that was then, and this is now, and today I give slightly different advice to the people who work with me: Work for you first, because when you do, the ‘second priority’ you give to me as your partner/ manager/ boss is far better.
I say it, and I believe in it heart and soul, because of what I have learned about ALOHA and its spirit-spilling capacities. Personal 1st, professional 2nd, integrated.
Do I still want you “to be a responsible and productive adult” today? You bet.
Do I still believe that a good work ethic is the way to become a responsible, productive, and fulfilled adult? Yes, I do.
“I no longer remember who said it to me, but I can still hear the words. ‘Do what you love. Be a good person. Those are your only two jobs in life.’”
— Ryan Holiday
‘Old habits [may] die hard’ yet old values get better with age.
Work Ethic doesn’t show up on company value statements as much as it once did, yet it has never gone out of favor — everyone still wants it, everyone still admires it. My theory is, that it was once so pervasive as a societal value it became a universal assumption and unparalleled shoulding: If everyone knew it and everyone bought into it, we didn’t have to talk about it as much.
My message to you with this particular posting today is a passionate request: Talk about it.
Talk about work ethic again. Bring it into your workplace conversations, and say what you want it to be about.
Be clear, and be honest and truthful about what work ethic can, and will deliver in your workplace culture.
Hidden assumptions are rarely that useful (and they can be dangerous). Far better is talking story, managing with Aloha conversations, and creating a cultural Language of Intention for your workplace.
Our Values-Based Aloha for August 2013:
This month we’ll talk about work ethic here on the blog as well (Value Your Month to Value Your Life). My goal, is that what’s shared here will help you initiate your own conversations about it, in either your journal and self-coaching, or in your workplace, or both!
For today, spend a few moments to think about what the value of ‘work ethic’ means to you. Write it down as your ‘before’ and to compare it to what you may think about it by month’s end.
Second, we Ho‘ohana Kākou:
If you come up with a question about work ethic, or a comment you’d like to share about it, add it here in the comments so our Ho‘ohana Community can chew on it with you, or write to me privately about what may be on your mind — you just might trigger another blog post for me to include this month.
Here is some Archive Aloha I am choosing as related reading on some of the connected value-drivers I now have in mind:
- Say YES to the Role you Choose. Say NO to the Role others impose on you: Be Brave in Setting Your Limits
- Great Managers Start Great: An ALOHA Rite of Passage and link
- Day 1 for Job 1: A Good Selfishness and People Who Do Good Work
- Beauty in the Work: “Things Occur to You.”, and the story of my experience: Like it? Might love it? Run with it.
- Your values are your forever: July 1= 6 Months of Value Immersion and Ethos: Be true to your Values
UPDATE: Next article ~ We Earn Our Keep, Integrated: This one recaps the Personal-1st/ Professional-2nd/ Integrated work ethic formula in real workplace practice. You can continue to find new article links under the RECENT ARTICLES listing in the right side column, or on the August 2013 archive page (listed with previews).