Understand it or destroy it – the importance of meaningful work

The Map of Meaning is not so much a tool to use, as a complete framework through which to think and make sense of complex situations. You may be familiar with Karl Weick’s work on sensemaking, for example “Organizing and the Process of Sensemaking“.  The Map helps us make sense of personal, team, organizational and whole-of-government challenges. Leaders, once they understand the key factors that make work meaningful for people, can transform their organisations in the way that they want. Lani Morris explains, “There are few things as frustrating as producing the result opposite to that which you intended. Yet this is the current situation for many leaders. Intending to motivate their teams, leaders frequently destroy one of the single most important motivational factors in organisations, meaningful work. See: For example, “Leaders Kill Meaning at Work”. And it is not their fault, since it is difficult to see that meaningfulness has a direct effect in the practical workplace. Even if leaders understand the importance of meaningful work, they tend to “manage meaning” through engagement, motivation, empowerment which has the effect of fragmenting each employee’s experience of meaningfulness. The Map of Meaning shows that we have been trying to force something that will naturally occur if we work with the intrinsic human need for meaningful work. What is more, the Map shows us how to do this.” To see how Lani Morris and Marjolein Lips-Wiersma are applying their Map of Meaning to add humanity to the world of work, see: Using the Map.

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