Recently had a brief Facebook exchange with friend of the show John Jorgensen over a story about US unemployment claims. John’s smart. He saw right away that there were some big pieces of the puzzle missing, and this bit of positive news was being presented isolation. Call it spin, call it selective reporting, call it a little misleading. Maybe all three. He’s totally right.
But here’s what I dig about economics. The economy is one of the few things that seem to be truly powered by hope. If we all believe it will get better, and we act that way, it gets better. If we think it will tank, and we act accordingly, it tanks. So maybe a little spin on the numbers isn’t such a bad thing.
You know what else seems to be powered by hope? Your career. You heard me.
Think you are doing a great job? Think you will be rewarded for your work? Think your company has a bright future, and you can make a real difference? Frederick Herzberg, father of Motivation-Hygiene Theory, tells us that those are just the right attitudes for you to have to be connected to your job and, in the end, more effective. What do we know about those connected, effective and motivated A players? They are way more likely to perform above others, earn greater rewards, and have a real impact on their organization. They are the brass ring, the reason we measure and chase employee engagement scores. To try to find an copy them in order to breed success. And they are powered by hope of a better future.
What about the opposite? Employees who have no reason to believe in the future of their role or company? They are distracted, not to mention distracting. They suck away at your time, your resources, your energy and, yes, your success. Too many of those start to drag on performance. And soon, it’s not just them that have lost hope. It is everyone around them as well.
I suppose you could consider these macro and micro versions of the same phenomenon. I find them fascinating. As the presidential election rolls around, I’m sure we will hear much about hope again this time. And while most of what we hear in stump speeches may be overblown rhetoric, this little bit may be more true than even the speakers believe.
So, how’s your hope level these days?