Meaningful Work Matters, For You And For Your Team, with Scott Cramer, Ep #5
Play • 32 min

There isn’t a person alive who would say that they aren't interested in doing meaningful work. But there are thousands who say that they don’t know what that looks like for them. My guest on this episode is COO of KL Engineering, Scott Cramer. Scott’s not only a successful business leader of a company that retains its team members long-term (a sign that the culture is healthy), he’s also the coach of a winning youth football team. Both of those say something about his effectiveness as a leader.

I encourage you to listen carefully to the depth of the responses Scott shares as I ask him about what it takes to create mutually meaningful work engagements, what leaders can do to empower their people to make their best contributions, and more. If you’re like me, you’ll wind up with a short list of powerful ideas that you’ll want to listen to again. Thankfully, it’s a podcast - so you can do that as much as you’d like.

The members of your team want to do meaningful work, not just work

One of the major problems with the way the business world has been run over the past few decades is that employees have been viewed and treated like commodities. They are hired to produce, so leaders focus on the production - often at the expense of the people. Many of us have felt the sting of that kind of leadership. It’s my mission to change that.

Change starts with the realization that leadership is the stewardship of people, not resources. It’s our job to ensure that the things our team members do are meaningful. That doesn’t mean we are always able to offer them a custom-tailored position - we may not have a position that fits the bill. But it does mean we need to lead them in ways that highlight their value as individuals, in ways that affirm that the contributions they are making are meaningful to the team as a whole. Scott’s leadership at KL Engineering is that kind of leadership. In this conversation, he shares a number of stories of how it works out in the day to day work life of his team. Don’t miss it.

Your team needs to know there is a huge difference between being a failure and failing

As you’ll hear in the first seconds of this podcast interview, Scott Cramer was inspired when he heard Denzel Washington’s commencement speech, given at The University of Pennsylvania in 2011. It wasn’t the motivational stories Denzel shared that made an impact on Scott, it was his humility in admitting that he was nervous about giving his speech. It was that admission that drove home the truth that failing is always a possibility - and that there’s a huge difference between failure and failing.

Scott believes it’s important for leaders to understand and to communicate to those on their teams that there is indeed a huge difference between being a failure and failing. Failing is OK, in fact, it’s mandatory if we are going to succeed. Team members need to hear it from you - their leader. That's part of what gives them the courage to take company-changing risks that matter. Listen to hear more of Scott’s advice about how you can lead your team to success, through failure.

Teaching others how to teach others is the test of leadership development

Every leader who is worth following should be interested in developing the leaders within her organization. It’s part of the role, part of what it truly means to be a leader. But as leaders, we need to open our eyes to the fact that not everything involved in developing the leaders under our care depends on us. Real leaders understand that they need to teach those they lead how to teach and lead others. Scott Cramer highlights the importance of empowering the 10% who are eager to follow your leadership how they can help the 80% who are on the fence to get on board. It’s a concept we can all learn from, so I hope you’ll take the time to listen.

Asking better questions is often the key to more meaningful work relationships

As I spoke with Scott Cramer during this podcast conversation I was struck by the nuance that goes into the kind of questions he asks those who serve on his team at KL Engineering. He’s a master at looking more deeply, at caring enough to take the time required to inquire how somebody came to their decision, or how they learned something. It’s in the responses he receives to those kinds of questions that he discovers what’s really going on in the lives of his team members. And it’s how he makes the work his team members are doing more meaningful, to them and for the company.

Outline of This Episode
  • [1:54] Getting to know Scott Cramer - COO of KL Engineering
  • [2:50] Scott’s definition of mutually meaningful work engagements
  • [5:05] What makes a working experience mutually meaningful?
  • [11:37] Working with team members who are not fully there
  • [14:14] Teaching the 10% how to bring the 80% up to the level needed
  • [21:13] Learning to ask not just what someone has learned, but how they learned it
  • [24:12] A story of when the light went on for someone Scott was working with
  • [27:40] Scott’s final advice to listeners - learn to ask deeper questions / share your passion
Resources & People Mentioned Connect with Scott Cramer Connect With Bruce

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