“What would be valuable for you to know about a team member, as a manager?” I asked.
“Well, what motivates them. What makes them want to come to work,” answered Nathan.
“There is a story about three men who were working together, each doing the same job. When asked about their work, each replied differently. The first said that he was breaking rock. The second said that he was constructing a building. The third said that he and his colleagues were building a school in their community so their children would have a place to learn to read.”
I watched Nathan’s eyes absorb the story. Finally he spoke.
“I suppose it would be valuable to know what is important to each of my team members.”
“Why would that be valuable to know?”
“I have to find the connection,” Nathan started, “I have to find the connection between what is important to them and their work.”
“And if you can find the connection?”
“Then we are in. The sky turns blue, the flowers bloom and the birds sing.”
“And if you cannot find the connection?”
“Then the work will be repetitious, the work will be like breaking rock.”
“And, so, I have to keep searching to make the connection.” The conversation became quiet. Nathan was searching, perhaps thinking about his own connection.