Have you ever noticed how when someone tells us how they’ve been really busy with work, we automatically interpret this as being a bad thing? Certainly, no one associates having a lot of work to do with sunshine, love, happiness or any other positive experience.
In many ways, this is a natural product of both our schooling and work experiences, where we’re not guided and supported to use our genius, creativity, and talents in order to do the work we should do. Rather, what is the more common experience is being funnelled through a system that puts us into neat slots like gears in a complex piece of machinery.
When it comes to work, we’ve come to accept the concept of ‘no pain, no gain’ as being the proper route to success and prosperity. That we need to tough it out in the hopes that – someday – we might finally be able to do what we want to do because we’ve ‘paid our dues’.
To make matters worse, even if we are lucky enough to do work we enjoy, that sense of satisfaction tends to be short-lived as we’re rarely given the space to grow and evolve, with the freedom to make mistakes without being blackballed a failure and someone no longer worthy of development or the attention of those in charge.
And so, we inevitably hunker down, hoping that someday Click here to continue reading »”When Did Work Become A Bad Word?”
There’s been a lot discussion lately on the merits of telecommuting, in terms of fostering teamwork and innovation among disparate employees in an organization. While there’s certainly been a number of valid points made on both sides of this issue, one fundamental problem with this on-going discussion is the focus on how we work without any evaluation of how these strategies address the issue of why we work.
By now, all of us are familiar with the numerous studies that have unequivocally demonstrated that the ability to motivate employees through salary or other financial incentives has a very short shelf-life and is especially difficult to maintain when obstacles or challenges are placed in our way.
These studies have also shown that the most effective way to sustain our motivation and drive over the long run is being able to connect what we do with an internalized understanding and appreciation of the purpose behind why we do it; of why it matters both to ourselves, and to the organization and community we serve.
This is exactly the approach we see in many of today’s thriving organizations which have a clear connection between their collective efforts and the purpose behind their organization. These purpose-driven organizations don’t care about what their competition is doing because they don’t need to rely on others to define the value of what they do. That definition has already been created internally and collectively.
Our purpose tells us why what we do is so important that only we could do it, if not also why we have to do it. In the pursuit of profits and market share, it’s easy for an organization to Click here to continue reading »”What Organizations Really Need To Succeed And Thrive”
The following is a guest piece by Harvard Business Review columnist Deborah Mills-Scofield.
If you haven’t seen the new Les Misérables movie you should. It powerfully portrays many of today’s issues: poverty, inequality and inequity, the struggle of self-organized groups versus command-and-control and liberty to name a few. Most profoundly, it speaks to the overwhelming and dangerous hold of the status quo on our minds and souls.
The battle between the new and the status quo is epitomized in the relationship between Javert, a policeman ingrained the life of Law and Order, and Valjean, a reformed ex-con who through grace and freedom has become a just and caring businessman in the community. Javert, unable to receive Valjean’s grace and freedom, actually kills himself instead of accepting a world where compassion and understanding counterbalance the rule of Law, a world most of us prefer.
So what does this have to do with business? A lot. On first blush, the lesson is the stranglehold of the status quo binding us to the present, and past, so we are unable Click here to continue reading »”Les Misérables – A Study In The Strangulation Of The Status Quo”
When it comes to successfully leading today’s organizations, one skill that’s been growing in importance and need is the ability to manage change. While many of us have read about various organizations to understand how they’ve dealt with change, I’d like to share an experiment done with crows to highlight some key lessons we can glean from this research on how to embrace change.
In his TED talk, Joshua Klein describes an experiment he performed to understand the nature of intelligence found in crows. For his experiment, Klein created a vending machine that would dispense peanuts when a coin was dropped into the coin slot. At first, he placed the peanuts on a feeding tray above the coin slot, along with a number of coins, to help attract the interest of the nearby crows.
Once Klein saw that the birds had become comfortable eating peanuts on the vending machine, he removed the peanuts from the feeding tray, leaving only the coins behind. When the other birds and squirrels inspected the device and found only coins on the tray, they left to forage for food elsewhere. The crows, on the other hand, used their beaks to push the coins around in order to see if they could find a peanut.
Naturally, this action caused one of the coins to fall into the coin slot, resulting in the machine dispensing a peanut. In a short period of time, the crows caught on that Click here to continue reading »”How To Embrace Change In Today’s Organizations”