Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Hero's Journey

I have recently finished reading A Field Guide for the Hero's Journey by Jeff Sandefer and Rev. Robert Sirico. I highly recommend it.

At the end of each chapter are a series of questions. The ones at the end of chapter 2 are questions each person should ask themselves. They are also questions you might consider asking your employees.

  • What skills and talents do you possess?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What do you love doing so much that you lose yourself in it?
  • What do you hate doing?
  • Do you tend to rush into things, or hesitate too long?
  • Do you tend to save up for a rainy day, or does every cent burn a hole in your pocket?
  • Are you a perfectionist who always demands the best, or are you satisfied with better-than-before?
  • Are you a natural optimist, or do you tend toward pessimism?
  • What do you have to offer?
  • What can you do that no one else can do?
  • What needs do you see in the world around you?
  • Are you willing to take risks in the hope of great rewards?
  • Are you ready to use your resources---your natural talents, your ideas, your money---instead of burying them?
  • Who do you want to become?
  • What would you like to be known for?
  • What would you like to have accomplished?
  • What sort of person would you like to have become?
Some of these might be obviously useful, such as asking your employees what skills and talents they possess. Some, such as "What do you hate doing?" might be answered more truthfully if you can guarantee anonymity (it might be useful to find out what your employees as a group tend to hate doing). Some of these might be interpreted as being job-specific, but could also (if you are more specific in your wording) be used to learn "big question" aspects of your employees (E.g., "What do you have to offer?").

If you can get your employees to be more personally reflective, this will be beneficial overall. If you can get them to reflect on what they are doing, you will make them more mindful, and that will make them more productive. With these questions, you might be able to find people who would be better doing other things. Where might a natural optimist do best in your company? Where could you use a natural pessimist?

The entire book is worth reading. Consider making your entire business a "hero's journey" -- not just for yourself, but for all of your employees.

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