The Fundamental 4 Questions that Every Employee Asks

The Fundamental 4 Questions that Every Employee Asks

Guest Post by Lee J. Colan, Ph.D. and Julie Davis-Colan

Excerpted from:

Cheryl Johnson is a client and a corporate leader with ULTA Beauty, a rapidly growing retailer of beauty products and services. During one particular discussion, we talked about how painting the picture can ignite a passion for people to go the extra mile.

Cheryl was reflecting on one of her first jobs as a dishwasher in a hospital. Interestingly, she didn’t see her job as that of only a dishwasher. Most people would wallow in the mundane task of washing dishes, but Cheryl’s boss painted a picture of something much more significant. On the first day of work, her boss told Cheryl that her job was “to help ensure a clean, healthy environment so patients could heal as fast as possible and go home to their families.”

Wouldn’t you be more passionate about washing dishes if that was your purpose?

If you want your team members to make every minute count, give them something to be passionate about. When you get your team members inspired about a purpose, their hearts will follow.

Our purpose answers the most fundamental question, “Why do we do what we do?” Step back and look at the big picture. Consider how your team members improve conditions for others – what differences do they make? Be bold. Your team’s purpose should stir emotions. At the same time, keep your purpose real and relevant because people can commit only to what they understand.

Then, in order to paint the picture of that purpose, you must answer the fundamental four questions that every employee asks (whether or not they ask them aloud):

  1. Where are we going?
  2. What are we doing to get there?
  3. How can I contribute?
  4. What’s in it for me?

Answering the fundamental four creates a bridge that connects today’s tasks to the broader team or organizational purpose. Without purpose, team members may achieve short-term results, but they won’t have the heart to go the distance. On the other hand, they naturally will be more passionate about their work and more motivated to stick with the plan when they clearly understand that they are part of something bigger.

Lee J. Colan, Ph.D. is a high-energy leadership adviser, engaging speaker and popular author of 12 books that have been translated into 10 languages.  His cut-through-the-clutter advice, which is anchored in his corporate leadership experience and robust consulting business, appears in hundreds of online and print outlets monthly.

Julie Davis-Colan is an innovative business consultant and a compelling speaker.  Julie turns vision and opportunity into a profitable reality.  She has an uncanny knack for creating and selling unique marketing initiatives to business partners. . Julie’s passion for leadership and life create an infectious energy for clients and audiences.

You can connect with Lee and Julie at

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