Business seems too often to be given a pass when it comes to human behavior. Once a week hundreds of thousands of people gather to espouse their faith and gather in fellowship. They listen to stories of good deeds, kindness and compassion, experience the warmth of relationship and caring support and likely feel a sense of peace and joy. Then, on Monday they return to work, which in many cases offers up a very different type of experience. Good deeds, kindness, compassion, warm relationships, caring support, the feeling of peace and joy. Poof! Gone. And, somehow, this all seems to work…at work. Or, does it?
I don’t believe it does work. What I do believe is that much of our current business consciousness is akin to an old massive trunk of archaic mindsets, paradigms and jungle mentality that we keep dragging into the future.
What worked for the Industrial Age does not work now. In fact, it hasn’t worked for over a century. But, like all things caught in a tenacious institutional vice grip, it’s been a tough one to wrestle free. The idea that we continue to operate business organizations with these old concepts can be a tough pill to swallow. Yet, all the shiny new technology, political correctness, HR razzle-dazzle and MBA driven Mission Statements are not the kiss that will transform the toad.
What will transform the toad is a good dose of that which those millions of folks gather to experience once a week. Not the dogma or the doctrine, but the experience of being human in a more heart-based and less ego-driven way. Business is not a world unto itself. It is an extension of human endeavor—designed, created and operated by humans. And it has powerfully moved into our time. We need not be dictated to by yesterday’s less evolved patterns and behaviors. To do so, would be the tail wagging the dog. Instead, we have the ability to update and refresh what business means and how it is run.
One of the big reasons why people disengage from their workplace is because they don’t feel good being there.
I’m not referring to being Pollyanna or “oh, poor me” or “I’d rather be home watching TV and eating chips.” I’m stating that the workplace is often a survival-based, ego-driven structure where many people don’t feel safe or good. It’s that simple and that serious. If you are wondering why American business feels stalled, that’s a big reason why. The people that work there aren’t fully there.
For you traditionalists out there, I offer this. Creativity, performance, productivity and innovation are at their greatest when people are engaged. People are most apt to be engaged when they feel valued, good, safe and confident. You can scare people into action, but not for long. Creating a work environment that builds people up, supports them and helps them feel secure is generative and expansive. Don’t take my word for it…bring the “One Day a Week” qualities into your workplace and see for yourself how productive they can be.
Creating workplaces that support and stimulate humans is not simply a kind thing to do, it’s also a smart thing to do. Leaders can help catalyze performance, innovation, creativity and initiative though their leadership and the work environment. Engaged workplaces are neither accidental nor random.