These are the voices of thousands of people at work and home who feel increasingly unsatisfied by their working lives. Despite all our gains and advances in technology, we have created a business environment where people feel stressed, uninspired and unsatisfied.
Employees are under constant pressure to produce more for less, while being discouraged from using their natural talents and creativity. The result is a workforce full of stressed, suffering, unfulfilled and unproductive workers.
INDUSTRIAL AGE BLUES
In the industrial age, the prime movers of industry were assets and capital – objects. People – the human capital – were necessary but replaceable. Organisations could churn through workers with little consequence. People were used like objects – pushed for increased productivity and managed for efficiency. People were just able bodies – their minds, hearts and spirits were neither engaged, nor wanted. Many modern management techniques still work from the assumption that people are just another kind of ‘thing’; an asset to be managed, controlled and optimised. Even our accounting practices which treat employees as expenses and machines as assets derives from an industrial age mindset. The same mindset that gave us centralised budgeting, hierarchies, bureaucracies and micromanagement.
THE INFORMATION AGE
And while industrial age organisations are still tied up in their own red tape, in the real world,everything has changed. The internet is the ultimate symbol of the new age we live in. Information is traveling around the world at the speed of light, the borders and restrictions of yesteryear, forgotten – rendered useless by technology.
The internet has been nothing short of a communication revolution. Chaotic, unregulated, uncontrolled, it is the chorus of billions of human voices ringing out in millions of conversations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across the globe.
NOTHING FAILS LIKE SUCCESS
The institutions and organisations of today were designed to deal with the challenges of the industrial age. And at this, they succeed incredibly well. But in the famous words of Albert Toynbee “Nothing fails like success”. The successful industrial age organisation in today’s world is like a dinosaur in a shopping mall – hopelessly ill equipped to understand and respond to the challenges of its new environment.
The problem is that applying industrial age thinking to workers in the information age stops leaders from recognising and tapping into the true potential of their people. Workers feel alienated, insulted and misunderstood. There is low trust, low morale, poor performance and employee retention. And contrary to industrial age thinking, it costs today’s companies dearly.
LOVE YOUR WORK – OR HATE IT?
People, unlike things, have choices. They can choose how much of themselves to invest in their work, depending on how they are treated and the opportunities they are given to express themselves as a whole person. Every day when you get up to go to work, which of these choices do you make?
- Creative excitement
- Heartfelt commitment
- Cheerful co-operation
- Willing compliance
- Malicious obedience
- Rebel or quit!
If you want to bring out the best in people – inspiring them to creative excitement and heartfelt commitment – you have to respect their humanity.
That means respecting your workers – body, mind, heart and spirit.
Luv a great deal?