Aristotle once shared that the pursuit of happiness is the central purpose in human life. I have learned that if you try to ascertain what people really want — and you do this by asking probing questions and listening — you can help them achieve much of what they desire.
I found that this is an effective way of getting more people to participate and open up. Ultimately, if you can help others achieve what they would like, then you can also achieve what you would like.
There are six major aspirations most people desire both in their professional and personal lives. Even Anthony Robbins shared that success and happiness can be found by meeting the six core human needs. In 2008, Google did a significant study it referred to as “Project Oxygen” to help discover if there are common traits among its most successful leaders, termed “Oxygen” because it considers managers to be the lifeblood of an organization. Google confirmed that these characteristics lead to better outcomes.
So what do people really want?
- Happiness. People want to love and be loved. Most of their decisions in life center around being happy. Those with the best relationships tend to be the happiest. “The secret to happiness is love. The essense of love is to server.” – Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, priest and founder of Boys’ and Girls’ Town of Italy.
- Contribution. Many people want to make a significant difference — most want to contribute, to provide their input and feel they are part of the process. Google found that creating an inclusive team that shows concern in the success and wellbeing of associates and being a good collaborator was essential.
- Significance. People want to know they made a difference and they feel important to their families and children, their communities, and those that they work with and serve. They want to be valued. Being a good coach is being a good communicator, but it is also imperative to listen and share meaningful information and resources.
- Certainty. People fear the unknown. Most people want a sense of security and certainty in their lives. It provides a higher level of confidence. Having a clear vision and strategy for the team, as well as having the key technical and decision-making skills to advise them, can provide a strong sense of needed security.
- Growth. Many people want to build, grow, achieve and feel they are evolving in their relationships, careers and various pursuits in their lives. It’s important to be productive, results-oriented and support associates with career development.
- Variety. While we fear the unknown, people can often become bored or stagnant if they don’t have variety because they don’t feel stimulated. We need to be stimulated, challenged and have variety in our professional and personal lives. By empowering your team, not micromanaging, you can encourage an open environment for innovation and ideation.
Consistency and authenticity in the way they are applied is what really makes an impact. As we work toward our goals in business and in life, it’s important to understand how others can achieve the six meaningful aspirations. How can you help them find happiness, make a contribution, feel significant, have certainty, grow and experience variety? Bring others along with you as you seek to find these desired states of being. While you are pursuing fulfillment on your journey, it’s important to recognize that others also want to achieve these aspirations in their lives. ●
Umberto P. Fedeli is CEO of The Fedeli Group