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Context: The Who and Why of Work

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In the push for higher productivity and better communication, it's disturbing how many managers neglect the crucial task of creating context. Most managers are so concerned with instructing employees on how to do their jobs that they ignore the equally important questions of why the jobs need to get done, and for whom they are doing the work. If employees don't understand the context of what they do, it makes the work meaningless. For an idea of how dangerous this is to a company's health, a recent Gallup study showed that 71% of workers are "not engaged." When asked what caused them to disengage, the workers overwhelmingly cited the requirement to perform useless tasks. This begs the question, why are managers assigning so many useless tasks? Aside from our addiction to superfluous PowerPoint presentations, it seems more likely that employees only think their work is useless. Creating context is instrumental in giving employees a new perspective on how their work fits into the company as a whole.

Last updated: Jan 5, 2006




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