Expert Interview: Turning a Paycheck into Purpose
Jeff McManus grows things. As the Director of Landscape Services at the University of Mississippi, he grows plants, people and ideas. Faced with a multimillion-dollar landscape beautification project, a demand for excellence, high productivity and a stagnant budget, Jeff knew that growing the people was critical to growing the plants. Understanding that all humans either have or strive for the innate elements of greatness, resiliency, opportunity and wisdom, Jeff has developed his GROW Theory into an impactful management and professional development leadership program.
Turning a Paycheck into Purpose
“As a director of landscape services, I used to focus on the growing of plants. I spent a tremendous amount of time teaching staff members how to do things the proper way. Looking back, I was just dealing with teaching people what to do with their hands. Then, I would teach time management and how to be extremely productive and organized. That part was more engaged with the head, and getting their heads and their hands working together. But it wasn’t until I engaged their hearts or core values that our focus on purpose came about. This helped them reach the point where they were driven and had a reason, a WHY for being here.”
Why Is This Important?
“As a leader, you need your people to get things done. You need them to be productive, you need them to be efficient. You’re not always going to be able to micro-manage or watch a project. So you need people fully engaged, who are excited about what they are doing. That’s where a purpose comes in. They have to be driven from within, not just the external reward of a paycheck. What truly drives the passion, what drives the excellence is that purpose of why we are here, what are we doing. Is it bigger than who I am? Does it really matter.”
What Are the Key Lessons Learned Here?
“It’s crucial to recognize every person is valuable and should have a voice and a seat at the table. Engaging the heart and deeply held values of each person is the basis for building a team that works with a purpose. Giving people a voice, giving them some ownership of what’s happening, makes a tremendous amount of difference!”
Connecting With Jeff McManus
LinkedIn: Jeff McManus
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