We are diminishing a lot of individuals’ spirits and losing a lot of productivity

Too many people in today’s working environment are frustrated, unhappy and/or in pain. Another way to put it is that we are diminishing a lot of individual spirits and losing a lot of productivity. Management systems can be and should be modified to enable people to improve their productivity as well as the quality of their working lives.

As individuals we spend our lives jockeying between two parameters, boredom and fear. The human psyche will not allow us to exist for any significant time in either of these conditions. Some people flirt with the fear side because they abhor boredom. Others have learned how to handle the edge of boredom and prefer to keep fear at bay. In any case we all swing from one parameter to the other. At any one time we are pursuing one of two goals, freedom, or security. In the pursuit of security we create systems. We want to take advantage of what we have learned, so we establish disciplines to control ourselves and others such that we have enough consistency to predict performance and/or outcomes. We continue to build such “walls” until we have satiated our desire for security, and we feel trapped, walled in; whereupon we eventually turn around and pursue freedom, knocking down the very walls we built until we find ourselves in the middle of a cold, windy corn field, frightened; and we turn around and start the cycle all over again.

On a macro scale, societies follow a similar cycle with a longer frequency. Our society, today, is pursuing security and getting close to the end of the cycle. The lobbying for collective protectionism is starting to disturb our sense of freedom. The fastest growing industry in North America today is Lawyering! Our management systems are under suspicion of being too cluttered to allow the flexibility required to meet today’s fast changing markets. Our once stable organizations are beginning to look stale and are facing two options, change or crumble. We’re downsizing, rightsizing, merging, breaking up, restructuring, re-engineering, et al.

And bouncing around in the middle of all this shake-up is “our most important asset:” people – spiritually hamstrung at the very time we need them strong. It’s time for a shift in the way we manage this powerful resource. To do this we have to understand people and how their sophisticated caring centers control their respective interest and energy of attention.

Next post: In my next post, I will explore this.