As legacy business thinking attempts to stagger away from the ingrained practices of the Industrial era towards modernity nothing is in need of a more radical re-assessment than the view of the employee.
The disgruntled wage-slave with a shriveled spectrum of motivation deriving from what Sumantra Ghoshal perfectly described as ‘the dismal view of humanity’ implicit in homo economicus is so far past its sell by date as to be positively odorous with decomposition.
Not only are those who are supposed to fight for the dubious pleasure of occupying these roles looking at them askance, but in the context of what modern organisations need in order to flourish, strangling the potential contribution of people inside this deadening conceptual structure is contemporary business suicide.
To survive in the modern environment organisations of any type, not just businesses, need an agile, responsive, fully engaged complement of people regardless of their formal role as contractors, employees etc. They need people who are free to be what they are in order to deliver all the value they can to the organisation.
The environment in which business is conducted has changed completely. A fistful of commentators have tackled different aspects of these changes McAffee, Chesborough, Hamel are just a few names that spring to mind. However for a succinct, clear explanation of the modern business environment and the changes necessary to survive in it see Dave Gray’s book “The Connected Company”. I’m not going to attempt to summarize what is there but want to highlight one particular element described in brief on page IX:
“Connected companies are networks that live within other networks. To be effective in a networked world requires different ways of thinking and acting. It’s less about predictability and control, and more about awareness, influence, and compatibility.”
And if you are going to have an organisation with these qualities they are only going to come from one place; the people in the organisation.
Old style organisations described in the first two paragraphs above do not encourage the development of people who express these qualities. Usually they are largely centered on highly hierarchic cultures which encourage fear based behaviors in most levels of their employees. This creates the atmosphere of tribalism, politicking and scheming that is a sadly common feature of these organisations.
In the terms of Liminal Coaching it encourages primitive brain behaviors which then become habituated. One of the things that happens when we work from the primitive brain is that we lose access to the more sophisticated, more positive and highly creative intellectual brain.
Obviously none of us work in absolutes so this operates on a sliding scale. The point is that the more focused the environment makes you in the primitive brain the less access you have to all those capabilities and functions that are needed both for you to feel good (higher brain solution creation and collaborative interaction produce feel-good chemicals) and for the modern organisation to succeed.
But what can you do if you are currently stuck in an old style organisation? Well here’s the good news you don’t have to be a passive victim of the environment. You can change how you operate and may even catalyse change around you as well.
There is a very simple mechanism that communicates to the primitive brain that things are OK and there is no need to start going into emergency response mode and that is controlled, measured deep breathing.
So next time you find yourself in a situation where you can see negative conflict patterns being stimulated, maybe by someone else’s behavior, stop, take three deep breaths and imagine you have all the time you want to think about how you really want to respond and where you want to take the interaction.
You could be surprised at the quality of results you get from this simple technique. And the more you practice the easier it gets to decide what it is the more thoughtful and creative you wants to do.
That’s why being You is cool, creative and great for business.
It’s just one of the techniques we help people develop in Liminal Coaching to enable them to access the very best they can do in co-creating new, lean and agile work environments which, through greatly improved performance, will leave old-style organisations to fade into the distance.
Enabling access to all the resources people have at their disposal is immensely satisfying for the people themselves, nothing less than a sense of progress towards self actualization. And this is where we may want to revise the hierarchy of needs and recognize that self-actualization is a powerhouse in the creation of functionally superior survival environments.
For more ideas and approaches see http://sysparatem.co/coaching-and-facilitation-services/