The president asks a man with a broom

By Bruce N. Pfau via hbr.org   Article

How an Accounting Firm Convinced Its Employees They Could Change the World

“It’s a fabled story about a janitor’s exchange with President Kennedy during the early days of NASA: ‘What do you do?’ the president supposedly asked the man with a broom during a visit to Cape Canaveral. ‘Well, Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.’

This meeting may not have actually taken place. But there’s a good reason it’s one of the most commonly-repeated management anecdotes: it illustrates the idea that a workforce motivated by a strong sense of higher purpose is essential to engagement.

A survey by Calling Brands found that working for an organization with a clearly defined purpose is second only to pay and benefits in importance for employees, and ranks ahead of promotion opportunities, job responsibilities, and work culture. Two-thirds said a higher purpose would motivate them to go the extra mile in their jobs. A similar study by Net Impact showed that almost half of today’s workforce would take a 15% pay cut to work for an organization with an inspiring purpose.”

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