Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be on the most rewarding and fulfilling team in the entire world? This most incredible team had guiding principles due to the clarity they had around four key elements: who they are, where they came from, where they were going and why they were going there. Everyone was focused. And all decisions were made with that singular focus at the forefront – their Mission. Their reason for doing what they do.
Over the past year, I have had the honor and privilege to work with teams like this! They have inspired me and touched me with their dignity, and they do the same with those they serve.
I’ve been so excited about these teams that I had to share these experiences with my long-time mentor, colleague and friend, Don Eggleston – the Mission Man. Don enjoyed a 30-year career in health care; serving in the areas of community outreach and organizational development, and concluded his career as vice president of Mission Integration for SSM Health in St. Louis, Missouri.
Due to the heightened level of alarm for international travel, Don experienced being detained by TSA on his first ever international flight – this was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for him and his wife as they were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. The TSA agents were just doing their jobs.
This detainment propelled his career.
Over the years, Don and I have co-facilitated many employee retreats and management development processes, so I know this story well. I have internalized it. And it has shaped my life. It’s called the “Airport Story.”
During his detainment, Don was asked a series of four questions by three different security agents. The questions were:
- Who are you?
- Where are you coming from?
- Where are you going?
- Why are you going there?
As Don reflected upon these questions, he wondered “what would happen if we asked these questions as we traveled through life? What would occur within and among us if we asked these questions in our relationships, workplaces, schools, congregations, and certainly, in our quiet moments?”
Don Eggleston is the author of With All We Are: Mission, Purpose and Transformation based on his healthcare career. His belief is that when we take the time to ask these questions of ourselves, our teams, our leadership, our employers and our clients, we get clarity for living fully into our Mission.
We’ll know what:
- Defines us as individuals
- Speaks to us and aligns with our values
- Guides change in “ways that are enduring, credible and energizing”
- “Enlivens us for the journey of service”
Our Mission holds us accountable. Our Mission helps us make the right decisions. “The Mission of an organization is its lifeblood” is Don’s core belief. It’s why we work.
I know most of us have to work. If I asked you WHY you work, most likely I would hear “money”. Then I would likely hear benefits, paid vacation, “I’m qualified,” title, career move, closer to home, etc. This will only carry us so far.
When I ask that question, WHY you work, rarely do I ever hear:
- My company is committed to what they say they do and what we do is important.
- I’m convinced that what I’m doing is worthwhile.
- I totally believe that our product matters in the lives of our customers.
So, what would it be like to work with the most rewarding and fulfilling team in the entire world? This most incredible team would work “With All We Are” while unleashing the Power of We.
They would know that:
- As housekeepers in operating rooms, they are part of the infectious disease prevention team. This is what will keep them working when they’ve been short staffed for over six months.
- As technicians on the fire truck assembly line, they are saving lives. It’s what will keep them working when they disagree with management.
- As salespeople of adult diapers, they are promoting personal dignity and mobility. This can keep them working on their most difficult days.
So if you want to feel some propulsion for WHY you do the work that you do, to work with the most amazing, rewarding and fulfilling team With All We Are, detain yourself first by asking the questions from Don’s Airport Story. Then take them to your team, your boss, your company and your organization. It’s WHY we work that creates the rewards and fulfillment.
Your Partner in Alignment,
Learn more about The Power of We.