In this article, Christensen encourages us to not measure our lives by money, status etc. but instead by what we truly consider to be most important: relationships with friends and family, and finding meaningful work. He points to contemporaries of his at HBS such as Jeff Skilling, the former CEO of Enron, who Christensen remembers as a “good guy” back in college. But Skilling went on to make less than good choices, Christensen contends because of measuring his life against the wrong things.
The article reminded me of the book by the same name which expands on as well as having different material to the article above. In the book, Christensen recommends not basing a career choice on hygiene factors and instead concentrating more on motivators.
From this article in Fast Company:
This thinking on motivation distinguishes between two different types of factors: hygiene factors and motivation factors. On one side of the equation, there are the elements of work that, if not done right, will cause us to be dissatisfied. These are the hygiene factors: status, compensation, job security, work conditions, company policies, and supervisory practices. It matters, for example, that you don’t have a manager who manipulates you for his own purposes–or who doesn’t hold you accountable for things over which you don’t have responsibility. Bad hygiene causes dissatisfaction.
But even 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 thing at all.
On the other hand:
So, what are the factors that will cause us to love our jobs? These are what Herzberg’s research calls motivators. Motivation factors include challenging work, recognition, responsibility, and personal growth. Motivation is much less about external prodding or stimulation, and much more about what’s inside of you and inside of your work.
Here’s an excellent obituary on Clayton Christensen in the New York Times.
The New Yorker is consistently one of the best long-form reads in the world. Here’s an absolute corker about the modern-day diamond industry and how Eira Thomas and her company Lucara Diamond is shaking up the industry.
I loved the sense of it still being a totally speculative industry, where people give up on mines, then others take a punt on it and find jewels the size of rocks. It’s an industry for optimists.
The most sporting team in the world
The FT had a story this week on How rugby club Saracens taught executive skills — but hid the cheating. Saracens have dominated English and European Rugby Union in recent years, but were recently found guilty of breaching financial strength rules. In order to have greater fairness in Rugby, rules were introduced to cap salaries that could be paid. This was supposed to ensure that the richest clubs couldn’t snap up all the best players and dominate purely because of their financial muscle.
In the comments of this depressing story, a reader contrasted this with the most sporting team in the world, Corinthians FC. From their Wikipedia page:
The club was famed for its ethos of “sportsmanship, fair play, [and] playing for the love of the game”. ‘Corinthian Spirit, still understood as the highest standard of sportsmanship, is often associated with the side. This spirit was famously summed up in their attitude to penalties; “As far as they were concerned, a gentleman would never commit a deliberate foul on an opponent. So, if a penalty was awarded against the Corinthians, their goalkeeper would stand aside, lean languidly on the goalpost and watch the ball being kicked into his own net. If the Corinthians themselves won a penalty, their captain took a short run-up and gave the ball a jolly good whack, chipping it over the crossbar.
This was first published in my weekly email newsletter on Substack on 02 Feb 2020.