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Senior Correspondent

Talented leaders always define meaning and explain purpose.

There are no menial tasks as long as tasks have meaning.

My recent stay at Susquehanna Health (SH) exposed me to an array of remarkable people; not the least of which was Karen from food services. She reminded me of the power of meaning.

Delinquency and opportunity:

I usually didn’t fill out my meal menu in a timely manner which required someone from food services to stop in and fill it out. Typically a young person stopped in. But one day Karen, a not so young person with pen and menu in hand, arrived.

A million dollar moment:

Any exchange with me borders on an interview. In typical fashion I asked her how long she had been in food services, etc. The million dollar moment arrived when I asked what she enjoyed about her job.

“Food makes people happy,” she said.

Purpose and engagement:

Casual observers think Karen fills out menus and delivers food. But she doesn’t. She’s in the happiness business. Success always includes making someone happy. She’s a rock star in my book. SH is lucky to have her on their team.

Purpose is the secret of engagement. I wonder if her organization knows what makes Karen tick. If they do, they can fuel her fire, enrich her satisfaction, and retain her remarkable services.

Purpose and motivation:

Which statement best motivates Karen?

Thank you for delivering food in a timely, efficient manner.

Or

Thank you for bringing a moment of happiness to people experiencing the trying days of a stay in the hospital, you make a difference.

What could someone say to you that affirms the meaning and purpose you embrace?

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