Posted by: David D. Daggett | November 24, 2008

Work Ethic

Work Ethic

     Work ethic seems to be a popular topic for us older folks to talk about. Frequently our generation questions the work ethic in the upcoming generations. Our articles on Elementary Leadership and Indicators of Success made me curious about work ethic.

     Historically I learned that work ethic became a moral virtue after the protestant reformation. Before that, birth right was more valued than work ethic. The view of work ethic as a desired virtue has continued through our present generations. But, I learned that the method of implementing work ethic has changed over the years.

The industrial revolution and a manufacturing economy encouraged a strong work ethic. We were a manufacturing-based economy and work force through most of the twentieth century. During these times work ethics was what I will call “passive.” Basically, showing up for work on time, not leaving early, and keeping up with the work flow showed a strong work ethic.

As we have evolved into an intellectual and information-based economy, our work patterns have also changed. Work ethic now tends to have to be more “active.” We now have to pro-actively work in order reach results. Just showing up and putting in the time doesn’t count anymore – you have to accomplish something.

In today’s world work ethic doesn’t wait for action, it pro-acts. Work ethic stays on task and doesn’t waste time. It takes a little more get up and go with an eye toward the result or goal. There is always forward progress.

Professionally, work ethic must be used to contribute to the results for the team or organization. It is more than just being there, and is even more than just hard work. It is the deliberate and conscious movement toward a goal or result that benefits the organizational purpose. Certainly, I am proud of the work ethic of our Lewis & Daggett team.

Work ethic today is indeed a virtue. Children (adults too) learn this virtue through observation, by achieving, and by celebrating the results. Additionally, a sense and need of security after experiencing difficult economic times motives work ethic and further instills it as a value.

Of course, Iron people lacing up the shoes every day, not just some days,  heading out the door with a focus on the finish line is a good way to train your work ethic.

Always move forward,


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