“I gotta pay all these bills, but know I’m destined for more,” raps RonEssential in his new music video Now or Never. He then asks, “But what good is the flame if it never ignites?”
RonEssential is not the stereotypical rapper. He is a clean-cut, wire-framed glasses, button-down shirt wearing, ex-Fortune 1000 sales manager. A little over a year ago, he left a good paying job to write, produce and perform reality rap from a 30+ adult perspective. It was a big move considering he and his wife are planning for a family and have a mortgage to pay. “He’s a homeowner” and “. . . rapper with a 700+ credit score,” RonEssential proudly proclaims on his website.
When I had the pleasure of speaking to RonEssential a few weeks ago he reminded me of so many others I have coached over my career. He desperately wants to be all he can be by leveraging his innate talents, interests and passions. He wants to play the role he is meant to play in life. He wants to succeed in improving the lives of others and the world as only he can. He wants to go from good to great.
What RonEssential pursues is the correct position in the puzzle of life. Whether as an entrepreneur or employee at an organization, the right fit is key to real organizational and economic growth. Accepting anything less is embracing mediocrity.
While the availability of jobs does appear to be heading in the right direction, worker engagement continues to be shockingly low with less than 14% of the global workforce reportedly engaged in their jobs.
Unhappy employees not doing what they do best or are passionate about don’t deliver all they can. This limits peak productivity and work quality and increases expenses related to waste, attrition, rehiring and retraining.
Thinking which perpetuates the mentality, “shut up and be grateful to have a job,” will never produce optimum results for organizations or our economy. In fact, limited thinking like this stunts organizational growth and creates enormous economic debt.
Can Everyone Change The World?
People in the right jobs deliver the unimaginable at every level.
In the recently released movie, The Imitation Game based on a true story, the application of the mathematics excellence of Alan Turing effectively served to end World War II. Socially awkward, Turing’s shining ability was his talent and love for solving problems. Breaking the Nazi’s encrypted communication code was the ultimate problem and he was drawn to solve it. The one thing he did better than anyone else in the world, applied to the right job, achieved the seemly impossible and saved millions of lives.
Another person who attained the remarkable was pilot Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger, III. He saved the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, when he safely landed his disabled passenger airline in the Hudson River a stone’s throw from the populated streets of New York City.
My father provided me the best early life example. A few years after beginning his career as an engineer at IBM, he was asked to couple his talent as an inventor with his passion for film. He was tasked with developing a better way to print motion pictures for movie theater distribution. The process at the time yielded declining picture quality with each new print. He and two other engineers invented a computerized light valve monitoring system allowing all prints to maintain the picture quality of the original film. In 1973 as The Godfather won best picture, my father and his team of two were each awarded an Academy Award for technical achievement, effectively revolutionizing film printing.
More recently, X-Factor’s Ben Haenow transitioned from a van driver to a pop sensation after earning an opportunity to showcase his innate talent and passion on a British television talent show. Ben unsuccessfully pursued a music career for over a decade prior to his television debut. Now filling the right role in life, his Christmas single just hit number one on the UK music chart.
Any capable person in the right role can change the world, if they so desire.
Dare To Imagine
Imagine if everyone in the world had the opportunity to find and work in a job where they could shine and be happy. For some, achieving this could be using their remarkable singing voice and stage presence to entertain the masses like Ben Haenow. Others might leverage their extreme attention to detail, passionately manufacturing and assembling top quality products people need and enjoy. And yet others might sweep the floors of an office building, believing everyone should have a clean and well-kept place to work so they can deliver their best every day.
What would humans, organizations and economies deliver in such a world where everyone is correctly aligned in life, fulfilling their purpose? The prospect is incredible.
Everyone has something they do better than everyone else. But most need help finding and developing it. In an organization, this is where skilled managers, leaders and human resource practitioners step in.
Going From Good To Great
For organizations to win in our highly competitive and volatile global marketplace, they will need to be led by leaders who understand how to fully utilize and capitalize the talents of a workforce. This skill includes leveraging those already within their organization plus those they desire to attract and hire.
Lisa Strickland, executive director of Operation Boomerang – a nonprofit which partners with companies to help long-term unemployed professionals over age 45 return to gainful employment – instructs, “Companies that want to attract top talent need to become worthy of the talent they claim to pursue.”
The chief role of a CEO is to piece together the puzzle of his or her organization so it makes sense and also provides everyone a chance to shine and be part of a larger, growing picture. True organizational transformation only occurs when every employee at your company plays the part they were meant to play in life.
Utopia? Perhaps. But why strive for anything less? Just providing someone a job is an easy task; giving them the right job is the hard part. Get this right and you will unleash organizational growth, sustainability plus shift economic power. Ignore it and you will be mediocre at best.
What is your organization doing to better align its talent for greatness? Please share you thoughts below.
For additional help and guidance, check out my new book How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love (Second Edition) and my companion recording, Surrender to Your Purpose available on Amazon.com and iTunes.
Published on Forbes, 23rd December 2014