Clayton Christensen is remarkable. He’s been punching out quite a few books over the last few years. Many of them business focused and not exactly “light reads”. He recently came out with a book titled How Will You Measure Your Life? This is a book focused on life and priorities. I highly recommend it and more post are to come referencing this book.

Hygiene Factors

In the book he references a concept called the Hygiene Factor — a motivational theory from the works of Frederick Herzberg. The theory relates to other topics on Leading Saints. Hygiene factors are maintenance factors the help employees at work avoid dissatisfaction (i.e. status, compensation, job security, work conditions, company policies, and supervisory practices). As long as employees feel they are being paid enough, being recognized enough, and so on they will be more apt to stay motivated and engaged. If a manager understands this principle he can make quite a difference with those he leads. Clayton Christensen shares a story about learning this principle from a management perspective:

As Owen Robbins, a successful CFO and the board member who chaired our compensation committee at CPS Technologies, once counseled me, “Compensation is a death trap. The most you can hope for (as CEO) is to be able to post a list of every employee’s name and salary on the bulletin board, and hear every employee say, ‘I sure wish I were paid more, but darn it, this list is fair.’ Clayton, you might feel like it is easy to manage this company by giving incentives or rewards to people. But if anyone believes that he is working harder but is being paid less than another person, it would be like transplanting cancer into this company.” Compensation is a hygiene factor. You need to get it right. But all you can aspire to is that employees will not be mad at each other and the company because of compensation.    p33

Finding the sweet spot in the hygiene factor is important for those that manage and lead, however it is only half the battle. “If you instantly improve the hygiene factors of your job, you’re not going to suddenly love it. At best you just won’t hate it anymore. The opposite of job dissatisfaction isn’t job satisfaction, but rather an absence of job dissatisfaction. They’re not the same things at all.” (p. 33)

I remember jobs of mine in the past that have focused on my hygiene factors. All my bills were being paid from my salary with a little left over, so I was able to give full focus and creativity to my work projects. I have had other jobs (commission sales) that take away the hygiene factors. In those situations I was distracted by the thought of whether I would be able to pay my mortgage at the end of the month. Focus was much more difficult and creativity was out the window. I made many more mistakes and lost more sales than I should have because I wanted them too badly.

Elder’s Quorum Hygiene Factors

So what about from a LDS leadership perspective. Do hygiene factors have just as much impact on those we lead in our church groups? How can you as a leader make dissatisfaction disappear so that members can focus on building the kingdom?

What is required to make dissatisfaction disappear for members of your ward/quorum/group?

  • A leader that is sincere
  • Feeling cared for
  • Easy connection to learn from the Holy Ghost
  • Feeling included in all groups
  • A feeling of non-judgement
  • A feeling of gratitude coming from others

What is required to make dissatisfaction disappear for members serving in callings?

  • A feeling of purpose
  • A feeling of contribution
  • A feeling that your leader (bishop) believe in you and your abilities
  • No wasted time in meetings

Think of the scenario when the Elder’s Quorum President has stood up and talked about all the blessings being lost because home teaching is not being done consistently. This is similar to a boss coming in and docking your pay because you aren’t accomplishing your work load to his satisfaction. The feeling of being a good steward in the Lord’s kingdom is a hygiene factor. If you mess with hygiene factors you aren’t going see positive results. This doesn’t mean the issues of not home teaching doesn’t need to be addressed — just don’t take them on a guilt trip.  Instead of talking about the blessings they — as individuals — will be losing, focus on the blessing those they teach will be gaining. You leave hygiene factors out of the discussion and suddenly they all feel they are part of an important goal to improve the lives of others in the ward.

What are other examples how hygiene factor in your quorum or group?

This is the first of a series of posts that analyze the thoughts and principles taught in the book How Will You Measure Your Life? Read the NEXT POST in this series.

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