The Meaningful Workplace: It Takes New Ways of Thinking, and Acting

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Fourth in a series

How do you build an organization where people are willing to bring their gifts of initiative, creativity, and passion?”Gary Hamel

You can’t build a workplace that is meaningful to people using the old mentality and outdated tools that have rendered your current workspace meaning-neutral or, at worst, meaningless.

To forge meaningful alliances with meaning-seeking employees requires new ways of thinking and acting. Familiar business constructs that have formed the foundation of employer/employee relations are being rethought and retooled to make business fit for the future.

Ambition is the new purpose

“The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.” – Socrates

Workplaces become meaningfully relevant when employees see the point of what they and their employers are out to do: the company’s why, it’s reason for being, it’s meaningful ambition.

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When presented in a credible, inclusive, and authentic way, the company’s meaningful ambition is respected, admired, and embraced by employees because it aligns to their personal values and answers their desire for meaning.

Employees can see themselves within the company’s meaningful ambition. They see how they can actively make it possible. They feel inspired to make it happen. They discover a way of achieving a meaningful outcome for themselves, their employer, and the world in general.

Did you miss the first three parts of this series? Read Being Meaningful: It’s the Key to Better Engaging Your EmployeesGetting Employees to Respond Positively  and Why Workplaces Aren’t Meaningful Now.

This series is excerpted from a white paper titled The Meaningful Workplace that was first published at Emotive Brand.

Jerry Holtaway is Director of Meaningful Insights at Emotive Brand. Prior to Emotive Brand, and for the past 30 years, he has served as a creative and brand strategist for a number of world-class brands including American Express, IBM, Lego, Ballard Spahr, Hanson Bridgett, Symantec, Zynga, VMware, and Nokia. Contact him at