Lesson 11 of 14
In Progress

Find Meaning

Not everything we do has obvious impact in and of itself. Picking up after your dog while taking it for a walk has a reason—but is the “impact” that obvious, especially when you’re turning the plastic bag inside out and stooping down once again? 

Many jobs involve routine activities—month end or quarterly reports, washing out mop buckets, setting out signage and turning on the “open” sign—all of which matter but may not, unless carefully considered, rise to the level of Impact. 

One of our team members worked for years in the automotive business, specifically in plants that stamp, grind, weld and assemble small assemblies that make up larger parts of the car you would recognize. One of those assemblies is a small gear that forms part of the attachment point between the back and bottom of a car seat, allowing you to adjust the pitch of the seat while holding the seat at the selected angle—even under the impact of a crash. 

The tiniest mistake in building that part can have catastrophic consequences. The operator who is stamping out the part is producing hundreds every hour of often long and tedious days. As part of this rote work she is supposed to check for small metal “burrs” or pieces of metal that need to be ground off to make sure the part works as designed. The presence of a burr can interfere with the proper functioning of the piece, failing to properly lock the seat pitch at the right angle. Under the stress of a head on crash, that tiny, supposedly insignificant burr that escaped attention in the push to fill an entire bin with pieces can cause the seat to break at the point of contact, throwing the driver or passenger forcefully forward. 

In this case, failing to see the “impact” of a repeated activity producing a tiny part can and has had very negative “impact” on people in the moment of “impact” with an immovable force—like a bridge pillar or another vehicle. 

Finding impact in even mundane activities increases our engagement and allows us to find meaning in even the most everyday tasks.



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