Can Joyful Work Help You to Stand Out?

Expert Dorie Clark Shares on How, and Why It Matters Anyway

Dec. 3, 2014. Boston, MA. Portraits of Dorie Clark. © 2014 Marilyn Humphries

Dorie Clark photo courtesy of © 2014 Marilyn Humphries

Autonomy and Creativity.

According to personal branding expert Dorie Clark when we humans feel like these qualities are maximized in our work we are more engaged, productive, and fulfilled–personally and professionally.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dorie recently.  The sentence above is how she answered my initial question on how the concepts of Creating Joyful Work tie in with her work on personal branding and marketing strategy.  From that start I knew it was going to be a great conversation!

Next we discussed how each of us can ensure these qualities are a part of our daily work. Dorie shared that most of us don’t know how to keep it going.  We want a fast process, a magic bullet or silver lining.  That does not usually happen so most people give up. The good news is that when we do persevere there’s not much competition!  Success increases.

This is true whether you are an entrepreneur like Dorie, or work in a larger organization.  One of the main keys to success is to create a body of work that represents your unique offerings. Your body of work can be a few long tomes, or many short pieces.  It can be written word or take the form of video, spoken word, visual design like photos or a montage. Or combine (m)any of the above. The most important characteristic is that it be YOUR work.  This also satisfies the qualities of autonomy and creativity that started this discussion. More importantly, they help you Create your Joyful Work!

As one example of how a meaningful body of work helped one person be more joyful inside a large corporation, Dorie related the example of Michael Leckie from her research.  In her article for HBR, Dorie relates that Mr. Leckie became interested in coaching when he was a mid-level manager in HR.  Though the topic of coaching is related to his work field, it is not directly related to his responsibilities. He pursued it anyway and became recognized as an expert over time.  To support his career goal of rising in the ranks, Mr. Leckie did two things.

  • Communicated to peers and leadership how his coaching knowledge and enhanced professional image helped his company achieve their goals
  • Emphasized the parts of his coaching work and expertise that did relate to his current responsibilities

How your expertise and body of work supports your responsibilities and the organization that employs you is hard to measure in an overarching, quantitative way, and depends on the environment you are in.  You have to be cautious not to excite some of the paranoia that exists in larger organizations, especially around social media. In addition, some leaders do not want their staff to get too good for fear of losing them.

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#1 Leadership Book of 2015 – Inc. Magazine!

The most effective ways to avoid or dilute these issues are the communications outline above, plus knowing that the best ambassador for your organization are those who create symbiotic relationships–ones where the better known you are, the more it creates respect for your group.

In wrapping up, we looped back around to how Dorie’s work relates to Creating Joyful Work, especially her latest book “Stand Out” (which I think is outstanding and was just selected by Inc. Magazine as THE #1 Leadership book for 2015!).  Dorie replied with an essential question–why bother to stand out?  We can either do it for defensive reasons to protect our job or organization against global competition, or to pro-actively give someone a reason to do business with us.

The more gratifying our work, the more successful we are. Magic!

(or Joyful Work)

How do autonomy and creativity play into your work?  Does this post help you find ways to create them?  Please share in the comments and help others to grow!

Many thanks to Dorie for taking time to talk with me and show me a wider process for Creating Joyful Work.

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