The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

November 13, 2016

Is ‘Doing What You Love’ An Elitist Concept?

Pages from The Boss Show November magazine: (1) “Text Neck” – hunching over your cell phone – makes you less effective AND less confident in your work; (2) Despite ever-increasing demands, we’re getting better at creating friendships at work; (3) “Stretch” goals might be the wrong approach; (4) “Do what you love”? It’s an elitist concept.

View Transcript

Voiceover: It’s a northwest lifestyle weekend on KOMO News. Now, a show for anyone who is or has a boss, this is the Boss Show with Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler, I’m The Business Guy. I’m the founder of Path Forward Leadership Development, and the author, along with my co-host, of the book, Land on Your Feet, Not on Your Face.


Steve Motenko: I’m Jim’s co-host, I’m Steve Motenko. I’m The Psychology Guy.  Welcome to the Boss Show. I am an executive coach here in the Seattle area and thoroughly enjoy, mostly, working with Jim in leadership development work in organizations here and around. I just came back from Nashville on a business trip.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, and you got to see the Grand Ole Opry.


Steve Motenko: I did.


Jim Hessler: The Ryman Auditorium.


Steve Motenko: I took a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry, which I, it’s the sort of thing I don’t usually do, but I just kind of figured, what the hell? It’s not the Ryman Auditorium, it’s no longer in the Ryman Auditorium.


Jim Hessler: Oh, it isn’t?


Steve Motenko: Yeah, it’s now in a new facility. I don’t know how new it is, but it’s really impressive.


Jim Hessler: Wow, because I still see a lot of things taped in, seem to come from the old building, which I think started out as a church, actually.


Steve Motenko: Yeah, yeah.


Jim Hessler: Original old-


Steve Motenko: Right, Grand Ole Opry has moved. Anyway, this is the show for anyone who is or has a boss. We hope to offer you a little bit of workplace wisdom with heart and humor. Jim, what’s on tap?


Jim Hessler: Today’s show, I’m calling it the Boss Show Magazine. We’re going to, each one of our segments I’m going to pull out- I have this very old-fashioned habit, Steve, of clipping articles out of magazines and newspapers.


Steve Motenko: I know you do.


Jim Hessler: I have a stack about 3 feet deep. I’m not exaggerating.


Steve Motenko: Is that why you’re moving to a bigger house?


Jim Hessler: Yeah, right. Today is me pulling out some of those articles, some of them not so recent, but things that I thought would be interesting to our audience. I have some things that are interesting, and then the last thing on the show today is something that really pisses me off. That, I’m saving that for last.


Steve Motenko: It’s not me, is it?


Jim Hessler: No, it’s not you. Surprisingly.


Steve Motenko: Good, not this time.


Jim Hessler: The first thing is there’s an article by a woman named Amy Cuddy. Amy is a professor at Harvard Business School, and she’s talking about hunching over your cellphone. Actually, there’s a name for it called text neck, or iPosture is another one.


Steve Motenko: “iPosture!”


Jim Hessler: Yeah, but what’s interesting about this, there’s this thing, there’s a kind of a, maybe a sexist term, but there’s old women who lose calcium in their bodies often create, have kind of a hunchback posture to them. Their back gets almost deformed, and it’s called the dowager hump, I don’t know if you’ve heard that term.


Steve Motenko: I don’t think I have.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, and they’re actually starting to see evidence of that now in teenagers from being hunched over. What’s interesting-


Steve Motenko: Oh my god. What’re they going to look like when they’re 80?


Jim Hessler: Yeah, but see, here’s the interesting part. This is why the article caught my eye. When you slouch, there are some significant psychological ramifications to your slouching. We’ve talked about posture before on the Boss Show, we’ve talked about this super woman or Wonder Woman posture that they’re teaching people to take, to show up in a more powerful and influential way.


Steve Motenko: Yeah, and Amy Cuddy is the guru for that.


Jim Hessler: Oh is she?


Steve Motenko: Yeah.


Jim Hessler: Great. I forgot that she was the one that came up with that. She’s saying that if you look at somebody who’s powerless, somebody who’s sad, or somebody who’s depressed you will often see that posture. Not only does that posture reflect sadness and depression and powerlessness, but it-


Steve Motenko: Causes-


Jim Hessler: It creates it, right? This is really fascinating to me because this is kind of old school stuff. When we grew up, especially, sit up straight. I think kids were taught a lot more back when we were kids to show up in a certain way physically. It turns out that there was some wisdom to that.


Steve Motenko: Yeah, but you know, I get the sense that there may have been wisdom underneath the surface of it, but the reason for it back then was to look good to other people, or to look respectful, as opposed to embody personal power.


Jim Hessler: I’m going to trust that there was more to it than that, that people knew that you felt better about yourself when you did that as well. In fact now, scientifically it turns out that is actually true. When you’re slouching over your phone, you’re in a posture that is not healthy for you from a psychological perspective. I don’t know what you can do about that, well, first spending less time on your cellphone might be an option, but even when you do, remembering to put your shoulders back, get into a comfortable setting because it makes you small, both physically and-


Steve Motenko: Psychologically.


Jim Hessler: Emotionally and psychologically to hunch over your phone like that. We’ve got a couple more, that was page 1 of the Boss Show Magazine this week. More when we get back, you’re listening to the Boss Show.


Voiceover: It’s a northwest lifestyle weekend on KOMO News. The Boss Show continues.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler, I’m The Business Guy.


Steve Motenko: I’m Steve Motenko, I’m The Psychology Guy. Speaking about psychology, before the break, Jim was talking about a phenomenon, a postural dysfunction phenomenon-


Jim Hessler: Text neck!


Steve Motenko: That comes from slouching over your cellphone. I wanted to underline the fact that we are nowhere near as tuned in as we need to be in our culture about the importance of posture on our emotions and truly on our self-esteem, on our sense of self. There are a lot of people out there, and I’m one of them with my executive coaching clients, working on getting us to monitor and to correct our postures as a way to show up in more powerful ways in interactions, and in more confident ways in interactions. Also in more receptive ways in interactions.


Jim Hessler: It’s also in light of mindfulness, which is something we also talked about recently on the Boss Show with Jae Ellard


Steve Motenko: Right, right.


Jim Hessler: Okay, so page 2 of Boss Show Magazine today is from an article by a woman named Rebecca Greenfield in Bloomberg Business Week. She says, your friends from the office are now your friends at the office. There’s one statistic that’s relevant, I don’t want too much with statistics, but holiday parties are down significantly. The number of companies that are actually having holiday parties is down significantly from what it was 15 or 20 years ago.


Steve Motenko: Why is that, Jim?


Jim Hessler: Well, the theory that Rebecca puts forward is that we no longer need external social events to form friendships at work because we’re a lot better at forming them at work than we’ve ever been.


Steve Motenko: It’s not just that we’re working more than we’ve ever worked, so we’re spending more time with our colleagues?


Jim Hessler: That could be it. She did not talk about that, but I’d be willing to open the door that that was part of it. I think another thing that she didn’t talk about was the fact that people stay single longer and maybe don’t have to go home, you know, for the wife and kids, the way they used to. What she, first of all, she’s talking about the more open office environments, there’s more opportunities to just kind of bump into people and have conversations than there used to be.


Steve Motenko: And more collaborative office-


Jim Hessler: And a more collaborative workspace, more of an emphasis on collaboration-


Steve Motenko: Right, spending more time in teams, less time individually.


Jim Hessler: Working in teams, and generally, you and I have been on the forefront of this for years and the work that we do with our clients is the relationship focus, as a leadership and as a business imperative, is forming quality relationships at work. You know, I’ve used you and I as an example many times. We do not socialize outside of work, and yet you are absolutely one of my very closest friends. It comes from us working together in a certain way with a certain kind of level of commitment to our relationship, a certain level of transparency with each other, a certain level of commitment to each other as human beings that transcends the work that we do and the money we make. I think a lot of other people are embracing that. You don’t need to go to a Christmas party, you don’t need to hit the bar after work because all day long, you’ve been engaging in ways that build your friendship. I thought that was a really positive and interesting way to look at it.


Steve Motenko: Well, I mean, I hope it is a positive. I hope it is, it does come from those positive motivations. It does make sense, we spend more time with each other at work. What I hope is that it’s not a product, not even partly a product, of the dysfunctional overwork that affects all of us such that in our culture these days, even though we’re more productive than we ever were, we still work more than we ever did. I hope it’s not that people are just saying, I’ve spent enough time with those people 50 or 60 hours this week, I don’t want to see them at Christmas.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, I’m, as a guy with a lot of experience with company Christmas parties-


Steve Motenko: I know it’s your favorite thing.


Jim Hessler: It’s my least favorite thing in the world to plan and execute a Christmas party, I think the point is that management shouldn’t really have to force socializing. It should happen in a more organic way. When people go to a Christmas party, there’s an awkwardness. I don’t care how good your company culture is, there’s an awkwardness to that. We should be helping people socialize in healthy ways everyday, rather than expecting it to only happen at formal events that we organize and pay for.


Steve Motenko: Does that include doing a Christmas party on Facebook these days?


Jim Hessler: Right, absolutely. You know, that’s just… People are making more better friends at work. I think it’s a good thing, Steve, I’m going to put a positive spin on it. More Boss Show Magazine, you’re listening to the Boss Show.


Voiceover: Now back to Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko. This is the Boss Show on KOMO News.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler, I’m the business guy.


Steve Motenko: I’m Steve Motenko, I’m the psychology guy. We’re really glad you’re listening, but we’d be even gladder if you’d talk to us. There are a couple of ways to do that. We want to know what you think of that show, we want to know what topics you want us to consider. You can leave a message on our listener comment line. That number is- are you ready? Get your pen out: 206-973-7377, or you can just send us an email. The email address is Talk to us at the Boss Show dot com. We want to know what you’re thinking.


Jim Hessler: The next segment of Boss Show Magazine today is about stretch goals. You’ve heard the term, right?


Steve Motenko: Oh of course I have. We use it all the time in the workshop.


Jim Hessler: Well, I don’t.


Steve Motenko: I do, yeah.


Jim Hessler: Okay.


Steve Motenko: The written curriculum is smart goals, but what I find myself saying to our participants, and this is critically important for you as a leader, whether or not you manage people, the goals that you set, the objectives, the commitments that you make, whatever you want to call them, they need to be specific, they need to be measurable, and if you want to grow, they need to be a stretch for you.


Jim Hessler: Okay, so here’s the dark side of that, is when management sets those goals-


Steve Motenko: Yeah.


Jim Hessler: Right? The implication, this is what drives me nuts about goal setting in general in the business world, is there’s this idea that employees will only do what they’re asked to do, so we have to set the bar really high for them to get them to do something extraordinary or special. Stretch goals end up becoming in many organizations very demoralizing and very discouraging events. Now-


Steve Motenko: It’s only when they’re set for you as opposed to when you set them for yourself.


Jim Hessler: Well, I think there’s another way in which they’re bad too, Steve, and that is when they’re metrical, when we set a stretch goal, for example, let’s say we want to do $15 million in revenue next year, and we did 12 this year. That doesn’t always reflect the realities of what’s going to happen between the time the goal is set and the time that the revenue actually comes in. We end up often with goals that are really pretty meaningless in reality.


Steve Motenko: Yeah, they come out of somebody’s ass, and if that person is a senior leader, then you have no choice but to-


Jim Hessler: Right, and the senior leader often feels obligated to set that sort of a goal because they feel like that’s an important job of leadership is to set the bar high and inspire people to greatness. The fact is that most people want to be great, most people want to do extraordinary things, but stretch goals can get in the way if they don’t have the right philosophy behind them. One suggestion that I read recently that I thought was pretty interesting is they talked about establishing something called target conditions versus a metrical outcome. In other words, instead of, let’s say you did 12 million in revenue and you want to grow, you set a target condition, which describes the way that your company is going to function in the year ahead, in a way that’s going to attract customers and increase your brand awareness, et cetera, et cetera. You describe that as conditions rather than focusing on the $15 million number.


Steve Motenko: It’s about creating the healthiest possible context for business to grow as opposed to setting a target.


Jim Hessler: Right. It’s saying that if we do these things, then the revenue, the target will probably exceed what we’d actually intended to do, because we’ll be creating a great company. We’re going to describe that company almost more in a narrative term by describing it as target condition. I thought that was a really interesting idea to describe how you want your business to look and act and feel, and then let the numbers take care of themselves.


Steve Motenko: That keeps people from cheating in order to get to the stretch point.


Jim Hessler: That’s the other part of stretch goals is they make a lot of cheaters. More on Boss Show Magazine when we come back, you’re listening to the Boss Show.


Voiceover: KOMO News, the Boss Show is back on a northwest lifestyle weekend. Here’s Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko.


Steve Motenko: Welcome back to the Boss Show. I’m Steve Motenko, I’m the psychology guy.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler, I’m the business guy. Today’s a magazine show, so we’re just kind of scrolling through Jim’s big stack of clipped articles here, and some things that caught my eye that I thought would interest our listeners. Steve-


Steve Motenko: Jim.


Jim Hessler: We often hear this mantra, do what you love. We encourage people in their careers to do what they love. One writer, Gordon Marino, in the New York Times says, this is an elitist thing to say.


Steve Motenko: Say more.


Jim Hessler: Well, what he says, quote right out of his article. He says, it degrades work that is not done from love. That it makes people feel if they’re not doing something they love, that they’re doing something wrong.


Steve Motenko: It implies, what I take from that is it implies that everybody ought to be at the top level of Maszlo’s hierarchy, self-actualization, and if you’re doing work to survive, it’s not okay.


Jim Hessler: Well, yeah, that’s part of it, yes. I think this… I think there’s almost this competition, and I think it’s fed by social media and peoples’ interactions about these stories of people who walked away from corporate America and started a pet walking business or something, and they’re just deliriously happy because they get to walk pets everyday instead of do this maybe more medial or more difficult job. What we can’t forget about work, always, is that some of it we’re doing so we can raise our families, we’re doing it so we can send our children to college, we’re doing it so we can put food on the table, we’re doing it so we can put money in the bank. If that means you have to shovel you know what to do that, by constantly stressing that work is this journey to find something that is at the top of Maszlo’s hierarchy, I think Gordon Marino makes a great point. I think we do run the risk of degrading people who have to sweep streets and clean the fry bin at the fast food restaurant.


Steve Motenko: Yeah. There’s another piece of it, too. That is, I think I mentioned this recently on the show, something I picked up from Elizabeth Gilbert in a recent podcast. She talked about how people are encouraged to follow their passion, but a lot of people don’t know what their passion is. A lot of people can’t identify a passion, and if they can, tying into what you just said, it might not be something that’s going to pay the bills. They need to pay the bills for the really good reasons that you suggested.


Jim Hessler: Right, because their passions may lie with their family. Their passions may lie with travel opportunities, things they get to do because of the work they do. I think also there’s that old saying, right, that it’s don’t wait- I think there’s almost kind of a victim mentality that comes out of this, which is I would be happy if I just found the perfect job. If I followed my bliss, and I found a job that made me happy. I think we need to be careful there, because everyone has the choice. Unless you just have the worst job imaginable, for me, that would be probably prison guard. Unless you just have the worst job imaginable, it is within your capacity to love that job.


Steve Motenko: Well, I don’t know.


Jim Hessler: You’re not so sure.


Steve Motenko: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s within your capacity to find a positive, to find the positive things about it. It sounds a little [polyamish 18:23] to me to say it’s within your capacity to love the job. It is definitely within your capacity, stay out of victim mentality and find the things that are positive. Relate to people that you like, whatever, but yeah, I wouldn’t go that far as to say that we can all choose to love our jobs.


Jim Hessler: Would you say that we, here in Seattle in particular, live in I think kind of a land of plenty. It’s just the best economy in the country right now, there’s a lot of wealth in this environment, and I think more people here get to check out of medial jobs and do something that they love than maybe they do in a lot of other parts of the world. I think the point of the article and the point I’m trying to make is let’s not make that the measure of a good job, is whether you love it or not. The measure of a good job can be that you do it well and that you provide for your family, and provide opportunities for your family.


Steve Motenko: Right, and when we come back from the break I’d like to add one more dimension to this notion. You’re listening to the Boss Show.


Voiceover: It’s a northwest lifestyle weekend on KOMO News. The Boss Show continues.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler, I’m the business guy.


Steve Motenko: I’m Steve Motenko, I’m the psychology guy. I wanted to add one point to what we were saying before the break, Jim, about the kind of elitist orientation of the thought we all should be doing what we love. That is kind of on the other hand. I’ve always had tremendous appreciation for people who live their art, who have the courage to engage full-time in their art, knowing that it’s unlikely, it’s very small possibility it’s going to make them lots of money.


Jim Hessler: It’s okay to admire those people, it’s not okay to judge people who don’t do that.


Steve Motenko: Yes. I agree. I was hoping you weren’t going to make me wrong. Yeah, no, completely. Part of me, you know, wishes that I had the courage to invest more energy in my art.


Jim Hessler: I hear you, I think a lot of us feel that way. You and I are both musicians, so we both have that, maybe that in the back of our minds.


Steve Motenko: You’ve got a rant to get to.


Jim Hessler: I’ve got a rant, I think you’ll be interested, and I know I’m going to irritate some people with what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. I’m reading the Bloomberg Business Week magazine, and it’s an article about how with falling gasoline prices, we’re seeing the return of the big car, and SUV sales and pickup truck sales are through the roof, and that actually the sale of alternatively fueled vehicles is really stalling, it’s only about 3% of the market right now.


Steve Motenko: Yeah, I heard that in Nashville, where I just came back from, they closed their Nissan Leaf production.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, so you have an electric car, I have a hybrid car. Here’s the thing that the writer of the article- I’m not going to mention him by name- that just really, really ticked me off. He said, it’s unreasonable to expect people to buy high-mileage vehicles for altruistic reasons.


Steve Motenko: That reveals a certain view of human nature, doesn’t it?


Jim Hessler: That is so cynical. That is so cynical, the idea that people will only do what’s financially beneficial. Would I like to have a bigger car than my Toyota Prius? Yeah. Would I like to drive a Lexus or a BMW? You know what, call me arrogant, I drive a Prius because it’s my way of lessening my carbon footprint. Flat out.


Steve Motenko: I drive a Nissan Leaf for exactly the same reasons, not only lessening the carbon footprint obviously, but not taking more dinosaurs out of the ground when there’s so few left.


Jim Hessler: Right. We’ve talked about conscious capitalism and things like that, but just that article, it’s unreasonable to expect people to buy high-mileage vehicles for altruistic reasons.


Steve Motenko: We talked a little earlier, I don’t even remember whether it was this show or a previous show, last week’s show, about the kind of different views of human nature of leaders, so leaders who think that people will not, you have to motivate people with extrinsic rewards, stretch goals, right, it was this show, as opposed to believing that people want to do the best. This guy obviously is in that first category.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, and the cost of things does drive our behavior. I understand some people can’t afford a Prius or an electric car. On the other hand, if you can afford one and you choose to buy a car that gets really terrible gas mileage and you don’t need that car for any other purpose than tooling around the city, I think you’re making a poor choice. You may not like hearing me say that, and you may think I’m arrogant for saying it-


Steve Motenko: I don’t!


Jim Hessler: I’m going to say it anyway, global climate change, let’s be a little more altruistic, huh? Let’s make choices that are for the common good, for the good of the planet, rather than just what pleases us in the moment, or what we can afford or what we do because our neighbor next door does it. Yeah. Am I an altruist? Maybe in this sense I am, and I’m proud of it. Maybe you should be, too. You’re listening to the Boss Show.


Voiceover: Now back to Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko, this is the Boss Show on KOMO News.


Steve Motenko: This is the boss show, and I’m Steve Motenko, I’m the psychology guy.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler, I’m the business guy. We want you to know, we want you to mark October 4th on your calendar-


Steve Motenko: If you’re in the Seattle area.


Jim Hessler: If you’re in the Seattle area, we’re having an event called The Boss Show Live. We’re inviting people to a place called the Cloud Room on Capitol Hill, and you need to go to Event Brite, that’s B-r-i-t-e.


Steve Motenko: Dot com.


Jim Hessler: Dot com, and look for that, just search it, you’ll find it. What it is, it’s kind of a moth radio era, it’s kind of an open mic kind of a thing, where we ask people to come and tell stories about their work experience. Just tell those stories, you don’t have to be a storyteller to be at the event, you can just be a listener and support those that are telling the stories. We really want storytellers, we want people who are willing to get up and tell interesting and compelling stories about their business career, that’s October 4th. We would love to have you there.


Steve Motenko: By the way Jim, how much does it cost?


Jim Hessler: It costs nada.


Steve Motenko: Oh my god.


Jim Hessler: Bupkiss.


Steve Motenko: Free appetizers and maybe a glass of wine, ooh. The Boss Show is produced by Boss Media Productions. Our sound engineer today is the [inaudible 24:57] Kevin Dodrill.


Jim Hessler: If you missed any of the show, you can get it in its entirety online at the Boss Show dot com, and that’s also where you can go to subscribe to the podcast or to contact us for any reason at all.


Steve Motenko: Thanks a lot for listening.


Jim Hessler: Don’t forget rule number 6.


Steve Motenko: Rule number 6.



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