The Meaning Revolution

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by Fred Kofman

The vice president of leadership at LinkedIn claims that the biggest driver of motivation is the chance to serve a larger purpose beyond our careers and ourselves, rather than salary, benefits, bonuses, or other material incentives; companies that are able to successfully focus their people, their teams, and their culture around meaning outperform their competition.

Fred Kofman's approach to leadership has little to do with the standard practices taught in business school and traditional books. Bringing together economics and business theory, communications and conflict resolution, family counseling and mindfulness mediation, Kofman argues in The Meaning Revolution that our most deep-seated, unspoken, and universal anxiety stems from our fear that our life is being wasted--that the end of life will overtake us when our song is still unsung. Material incentives--salary and benefits--account for perhaps 15 percent of employees' motivation at work. The other 85 percent is driven by a need to belong, a feeling that what we do day in and day out makes a difference, that how we spend our time on earth serves a larger purpose beyond just ourselves.

Kofman claims that transcendental leaders, wherever they are in the hierarchy, are able to put aside their self-interests and help others to feel connected with others on a team or in an organization on a great mission and part of an ennobling purpose. He argues that every organization involved in work that is nonviolent and non addictive has what he calls an "immortality project" at its core. And the challenge for leaders is to identify and expand on that core, to inspire all stakeholders to take part.

My thoughts on The Meaning Revolution

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I define integrity as honoring your word. A person with integrity keeps her promises whenever possible, and still honors them if she is unable to do so. You make a grounded promise by committing only to deliver what you believe you can deliver. You keep the promise by delivering it. And you can still honor the promise when you can’t keep it by letting the person you are promising know of the situation, and taking care of the consequences.

— Fred Kofman, The Meaning Revolution