Since some people become positive difference-makers and others don’t and we can’t determine based on their labels who is going to be in which group, what is it that causes some to make a positive difference and others to not? I think the difference between the two groups consists of internal traits.
The first trait is maintaining the desire to make a positive difference in the organization.
I believe that the vast majority of people start out wanting to make a positive difference in the organization they work for. They don’t start out their careers or start out in a new job saying to themselves, “I’m just going to earn a paycheck and I’m not going to try to make any contribution at all.”
So why do some people lose their desire to make a positive difference?
First, it has nothing to do with their labels. I’ve seen exceptionally intelligent people from great universities with big titles and significant incomes lose their desire to make a positive difference. They literally used up all their time and energy complaining about their employees, their customers, the government, the economy, their industry, and on and on. It was their way of avoiding having to try to make a positive difference. After time it became clear to me that they had no desire to contribute. At the same time I’ve seen other people with virtually the same labels work every day to try to make a positive difference.
I think people lose their desire to be a meaningful contributor for two reasons: the culture at home and the culture at work. When they were growing up, or possibly in their current home situation, they may have received a lot of negative subconscious programming regarding their career. They may have heard over and over again to “please the boss and don’t rock the boat” or “get what you can get because it’s a jungle out there” or “we’re not the kind of people who lead groups; we’re more the doers than the thinkers” or “why aren’t you in there fighting for a raise like everybody else?” Also, the culture at work may be one of constant fighting between employees and departments. It becomes like a silo mentality on steroids. Everybody is fighting their turf wars with nuclear weapons and blowing up each other’s careers. Any trace of idealism the person had coming into the organization has been wiped away.
How can you combat negative programming from your home life or work life?
I believe you need to find a purpose in your work beyond just making money. And then I encourage you to remind yourself of that purpose frequently. Why do you do what you do for a living? If you don’t have a very strong sense of your purpose for your work, you can quickly lose your desire to make a positive difference in your organization because of the negative subconscious programming you are receiving or have received from other people. If you really, really care about that purpose, you will rise up above all the negative energy flow and continue to try to make a positive impact.