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High Performance: The mission matters

May 20, 2020 -  By

“Show me the money!”

This was the famous line of Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., in the 1996 film, “Jerry Maguire.” The scene became an instant classic because it was so relatable. Work was all about the paycheck. Nothing else mattered. That was 24 years ago.

Previous generations would endure a job for decades simply to earn a paycheck. Those days are over. The next generation wants to know that their work has meaning. The mission matters. Compensation needs to be fair, but it’s not the driving factor that it once was. It has never been more important to develop a clear and compelling mission — one that is true and meaningful.

Patrick Lencioni’s book, “The Advantage,” explains how to approach discovering your mission. Simon Sinek’s smash book and TED talk, “Start with Why,” walks you through the power of articulating your mission, your purpose, your why.

The power of purpose is easily illustrated by the example of volunteerism. Anyone who volunteers their time or financially supports a cause only does so when they are in full support of the particular cause. Nobody gives up a Saturday afternoon or sends monthly checks in support of something they don’t believe in or care about.

But, when there is a clear mission that really matters, the “work” becomes much more. It becomes a crusade. Getting paid is a nice bonus, but it’s not what counts. Something much more important becomes the motivating factor. This is the power of purpose.

A nice side benefit to having a mission-oriented approach is that the small things cease to matter as much. Instead, there is a greater focus on the big picture. There’s less whining and more motivated effort — for the right reasons. Sign me up!

If there were a 2020 version of “Jerry Maguire,” Rod Tidwell dancing to “Show me the purpose!” might not be an instant classic. But for today’s workforce, it is definitely the right line.

Now go forth.

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Phil Harwood

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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