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Is It Time to Redefine "Work"​?


How do you define “work”?

No, really. I’m asking. Noun, verb – I’m not fussed. I’d really like to know.

Is work, for you, defined by effort? Exertion? Impact? Is it about time spent? Results achieved? Does it depend on what you’re doing? Where you’re doing it? With whom? Is it grounded in the experience you’re having? Or creating for someone else?

Just over a year ago, I think many of us believed work was what you went to an office to do.

But then offices stopped being a thing. And somehow, work persisted.

Now, a recent piece published by the Harvard Business Review posits that going forward, the corporate office will no longer be a workplace, but a “culture space.”

Working with leaders pre-pandemic to build high-performing teams and organizations, culture was always in the conversation. But it almost never was the conversation. It was a consideration, not an objective.

Fast-forward to today, leaders are feeling the heaviness of the empty space once occupied by a sense of culture. And in response, our workshops are focusing very much on culture as a key driver – for keeping teams connected, on track, and delivering amazing results.

Leaders are recognizing that the work of intentionally building a team culture is part of the work – not just a side effect. Creating experiences that connect us, give us a sense of purpose, trigger our appetites for experimentation and risk-taking – these are all meaningful work.

And our job as leaders is to truly sanction that idea.

This is the moment for considering all of the Four Quadrants of the Employee Experience equally – instead of an overfocus on Deliver with a gentle nod to the other three. We must ask our teams to help us understand – what do they need in order to Develop, Connect, and Thrive?

We need to hear them. We need to test their ideas. Ask for feedback. Role model these connecting behaviors. Reward and recognize not just deliverables, but actions that support and drive our cultures forward.

Today’s newsletter is a simple call-to-action. As your team continues to produce, wade through millions of meetings, deliver on the product roadmap…ask yourself: Are you being the right amount of expansive in how you are defining the work?

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