What is your MOJO and how to retain it?

Leadership, People, Work Place Competencies

Recently, the word MOJO came up in a discussion with a very busy, senior leader in an organisation. He was not enjoying his work, stressed, purposeless and feeling the need for a vacation. I commented, “Have you lost your MOJO?”….and we ended up with a more detailed discussion on this interesting topic (explained in the well-known book by Marshal Goldsmith – “MOJO- How to get it, How to Keep it, How to get it back if you lose it”)

What is MOJO? : Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside. It is about loving what you are doing to the extent that others can also see it.

Why is MOJO important? We are having MOJO when we do any work with meaning and happiness. This has a significant impact on our lives, others and even our personal life. Some people have MOJO in everything they do. They have learnt to generate and retain meaning and happiness in all they do.

What are the vital ingredients of MOJO?

Identity: Who am I? What are my values? What do I enjoy doing? What makes me proud? What makes me go into a flow? Identity describes what one sees as natural to oneself.

Reputation: What do people see me doing best? What am I known for? Where do people let me take the lead? When do people engage with me the most? Reputation is about what people have seen as truly superior talent in us.

Achievement: What have I achieved lately? What do I remember as significant for my self? Achievement are results which reinforce what we feel about ourselves and what people believe we can do. There could be a conflict between what gives us a sense of achievement, and what is it, for which the world is lauding us.

Acceptance: What is within my control? What is beyond my control and not to be concerned about? What can I do to expand your control? Acceptance is about action on what we can do, and not worry of what is not in our control. Letting go is very important for high MOJO.

The MOJO Paradox:“ Our default response is to experience inertia “: That is …..to continue doing what we are doing…!!

The MOJO paradox means that we continue to do things unless we are not being measured on them by an external person. The key point is to have an internal measurement to track if we are doing things differently.

To change that, the two questions to ask before doing any activity are :

a. How much meaning ( long term benefit) can I get from this activity?

b. How much happiness ( short term benefit) can I get from this activity?

The two questions do the following for me:

a. If I am doing something which can be avoided, I might decide not to do it if it is very low on both or either of the parameters. On the other hand, If I am doing something I cannot avoid, I try to extract the maximum meaning and happiness from the activity.

In both cases, my MOJO will enhance significantly.

As I enhance my MOJO, I can identify where I am “ Living” as of now:

Critical insight

When you are doing some work (which you cannot avoid), to “see yourself living” in the succeeding space, you would approach the work with the intention to derive maximum meaning and happiness from it.
If you do not see yourself getting meaning and happiness in that work, and have an option, you would find a way to avoid it and thus reduce the activities that do not add value to you.

E.g, you have to attend a meeting. This is unavoidable for various reasons and you are not clear of the meaning and happiness coming from it. If you ask yourself the two questions, you would look for the right approach to ensure that you get maximum happiness and meaning. You would try and understand the conversation, ask questions, watch people, enjoy the banter, the cookies and come out of the meeting happy. Your MOJO would radiate out and even impact the people who are in the meeting.

Some behaviour that could kill our MOJO:

a. Overcommitting: Taking too much of work does not allow us to derive meaning and happiness from what we are doing. When we go to a meeting, we cannot truly engage if we continue messaging or are thinking of something else.

b. Not accepting change: Non-acceptance of change can drop your MOJO like a stone. For example, there is a change of your supervisor, and the new boss is less engaging and has a dry humour. You have been used to an engaging, caring boss and so you conflict with the new situation, continuing to expect the same behaviour and dropping your MOJO when you do not get it.

c. Excessive logic: As humans, we tend to look for balance, fairness, logic and sense in all that is happening. Only the right people should take the right roles, the customer should behave in a certain way etc, which is a reflection of what we see is the way the world functions. This creates a situation of “ Logic Conflict” and we struggle with it.

e. Holding on because of sunk costs: Sometimes, we continue because we have put too much effort in something. This can also impact our MOJO significantly.

f. Confusing our modes: We have at least two modes, professional and personal. We keep moving between them through the day. When we are doing something, we can help focus better if we identify the mode we are in.

A MOJO Tool Kit: These key actions ensure that you build a strong MOJO

a. Defining your Identity: Know your values. Gauge the meaning and happiness being derived from your work. Be optimistic. Reduce clutter.

b. Making things happen..!! One brick at a time: Start small and do not get overwhelmed by the big target. Start quickly: Do not wait or think too much. Do not predict too much. Live your mission in the small moments also. What can you do differently?

c. Reputation: Creating a consistent image of yourself: Know what are you known for. How much is yours versus the organisation? When to move on?

d. Acceptance: Influence up as well as down: Accept your boss and influence her as much as you influence your team. Focus on action and not worry about the results.

Comments are welcome!

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