Schwartz introduces Mike, who "stopped mopping the floor because Mr. Jones was out of his bed getting a little exercise, trying to build up his strength, walking slowly up and down the hall." And there was Charlene, who "didn't vacuum the visitor's lounge because there were some family members who were there all day, every day who, at this moment, happened to be taking a nap."
These are demonstrations of practical wisdom, he says: The janitors knew what was right and acted on it.
When, instead, employees mindlessly follow orders, they rely on incentives. Such a reliance, says Schwartz, "undermines people's desire to do the right thing."
"You can never create incentives so that what's in your best interest is also in everybody else's best interest," he says.
So, what then do you work for if not a reward like a paycheck or a promotion? According to Schwartz, you should work to fulfill your purpose, whatever that may be.
"If you're a financial advisor," he says, "your aim should be to serve your clients. If you're a teacher, your aim should be to educate and inspire your students. If you're a doctor, your aim should be to prevent suffering and cure disease."
There's no shortage of evidence to support the claim. The 2016 Workforce Purpose Index found that employees with a sense of purpose outperform others, are more productive and are more inclined to stay late at the office.