Punk Rock HR Episode 108:
David Burkus is one of the world’s leading business thinkers and speakers, focusing on topics such as leadership and innovation. He’s also the best-selling author of an audiobook called Pick a Fight: How Great Teams Find a Purpose Worth Rallying Around. I like a good battle. I love a good cause too. So David is on the podcast this week because I am someone who is motivated by a fight.
In his book, David asks great questions like, “As an organization, what are we fighting for?” Or “What are you doing to change the world? And why are you doing it?” It’s such a great perspective to have, especially in the age of a pandemic. If you’re not fighting for something, if you don’t know your purpose or your mission, what are you doing? So if you are looking for some motivation, want to think about your job in a more significant way or find your purpose, I think you’re going to enjoy this conversation with my friend David Burkus.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- Why David decided to release his book, Pick a Fight, as an audiobook only and some of the challenges he’s hit up against in doing so.
- The difference between having a purpose and having a mission statement.
- How to creatively think about what the big battle is and break people from complacency, getting them excited to fight.
- David’s TEDx Talk: Why you should know how much your coworkers get paid was genius. He shares what it was about and how it was received.
- How to have mature conversations about mission or purpose.
- How artifacts symbolize or reinforce an organization’s story, Savannah Bananas, is a perfect example of this.
- Why picking a fight and having a purpose will allow you to return home a more energized person than you were when you left.
WHAT IS DAVID’S AUDIOBOOK, PICK A FIGHT: HOW GREAT TEAMS FIND A PURPOSE WORTH RALLYING AROUND, ABOUT?
Released as an audiobook only, David argues that what a team is fighting for is a powerful and potent driver of performance and collaboration, but not just any fight will do. Drawing on decades of social science research and real-life examples from billion-dollar companies, French pirates, Olympic champion curling teams (you read that right), and more, Burkus weaves together a clear picture of how people are inspired, how movements are led, and how organizations win.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAVING A PURPOSE AND HAVING A MISSION STATEMENT?
In theory, they shouldn’t be all that different. In practice, a mission statement is a document or a sentence or two that goes on the front of something that the board of directors and potential investors read. So, David’s argument in his book, Pick a Fight, is that if we want to talk about purpose and a sense of mission, then we can ignore the mission statement. What you need to give your people is a clear and concise answer to the question, “What are we fighting for?”
HERE IS WHAT DAVID WANTS EVERYONE TO KNOW ABOUT DOING PURPOSEFUL WORK:
“I believe that if work doesn’t energize, excite you, or give you that sense of mission and purpose; that’s going to spill over into your home life. If people fling crap at you all day, some of that crap is going to get on your carpet when you come back home. Right? However many hours you show up at work, when you return home, you return a better person, a more energized person than you were when you left, which is unfortunately not true for the majority of people.”
Resources from this episode: