Our spirits have been ignored in the workplace for too long and they won’t show up if trust is not present. Generally our spirits are relegated to the back seats of the work bus, segregated from our beings. We have been guilty of checking them into a safe place when we enter the workplace. And, we wonder why Gallup reported The worldwide engagement crisis in 2016. As long as the workplace ignores the power and sanctity of the human spirit, the workplace itself and the spirits of those in it will remain broken.
It is popular in social media to tag posts #everythingisbroken or #simplybroken or #broken. No one is tagging #everythingisfixable #fixthebroken or #mendit. What if we started a movement that concentrated on mending our broken selves and our broken bits of the world? Could we reassemble parts of our Humpty Dumpty world in a better way if we changed our declarations, altered our approach, and seized our own possibilities?
No organization can operate at a deficit indefinitely
The challenge is how to explore something mystical in a realm that defines itself primarily by financial results. Even the most socially responsible organization must achieve a certain financial return to keep the doors open. There is not a single organization, for profit or not-for-profit, anywhere in the world that can operate at a deficit indefinitely just because it wants to be socially responsible. When we acknowledge that reality we can drop the pretense that an organization will always put you and your spirit first.
Calling out the pretense
Calling out the pretense is one step on the road to fixing part of the brokenness. Deconstructing the pretense allows us to begin to establish trust. When trust binds our relationships we feel more confident in bringing our whole selves, including our spirits, to work. It is a risky business because trust exposes all parties involved to possible betrayal. And, we all know how betrayal feels. But there are other risks besides the negative ones.
Taking a risk on trust
If we risk establishing trust we will experience benefits. When trust is present, organizations and the people within them develop resiliency. Trust is the foundation of creativity, inspiration, and community. When we are trusted and we trust, we create a safety net. Within that safety net, it is easier to know and depend on one another. As we build relationships, we grow in the certainty that we are respected as contributors, and we seek opportunities to make our corner of the world better. Within an atmosphere of trust we bring our #wholeselves to work; eyes wide open to the risks and yearning for a chance to #mendit.
Performance management is undergoing some changes one of which is the push to mine data, apply metrics, and offer up analysis based on data and metrics. While this shift has the potential to reveal new insights, it should be approached with caution because your data and possibly some of your metrics may be dirty. Similar to the components of a clean diet, a clean analysis depends on identifying the best inputs, avoiding harmful ones, and having a comprehensive understanding of the outcomes you desire.
What is clean analysis?
A clean analysis is being mindful of the source and quality of your data, and the choice of metrics being used to analyze performance in your organization. Ask yourself the following questions when considering your analysis:
- Do you know where your data comes from?
- Is the data being input correctly?
- Are you gathering the right data?
- Does your data allow you to test correlations?
- Is the data being input consistently from department-to-department or site-to-site?
- Do you understand how raw data is being translated to metrics and then to decision-making?
Individuals and organizations frequently suffer from inertia when it comes to change. Sometimes inertia is good, because not all change is beneficial. In our fast moving and driven culture, we are guilty periodically of assuming that we have to be implementing changes on a personal and/or corporate level constantly or we are not improving. The danger in that mentality is that we implement change for the sake of change instead of carefully considering the action, direction, and anticipated outcome before deciding whether change is required.
Anyone can forecast changes in life with the broad sweeping strokes of the law of odds and the laws of nature. But what about those changes that assail the marketplace, leaving organizations reeling? Is it possible to forecast those changes, to anticipate their unfolding? A combination of reflection on the past and a scan of the present can provide an organization with a useful picture to predict the trend lines of the future. For this past-present-future exercise to be valuable, one needs to wield a broad perspective and an open mind.
Change is a really powerful force at work in many areas of our lives and world at any given time. We can chose to change or change can happen to us, one way or another change is inevitable. Our enterprises change, our bodies change, even the sunrise and sunset changes on a daily basis in my neck of the woods. If change is such a pervasive and integral part of our lives, why does it provoke such fear?
I’ve combined a couple of headlines from Twitter to get your attention. Forbes.com had an interesting article and video on Squashers today, and the Harvard Business Review had a post about Innovation Assassins. I am quite certain that in the realm of business the squashers and the innovation assassins are related. We all face them on a regular basis.
Last week I was in contact with several small business owners and there was a common theme to the conversations. Each individual loved being an entrepreneur but they were all struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness. There is a unifying misconception among the entrepreneurs I spoke with, that they feel the need to be the one source of all information for their business. What a lofty and impossible goal to set for one’s self. Large corporations have teams of experts, each with their own area of knowledge, coming together to solve problems and set future strategies. Yet, the entrepreneur tries to do it all alone then wonders why they feel lonely and why they frequently fail.
Being able to focus is critical to the achievement of goals in one’s personal and professional life. But focusing is hard, we all encounter lots of distractions. The new Distracted Driving Law got me thinking, that maybe we need to adopt an Exercise in Focused Living.
There is a need for revolutionary enterprises to step into the chasm between the non-profit and for-profit business models, to form a new model. One that is bold, resourceful, industrious, socially responsible, and fiscally viable.