26 October 2013, KATHMANDU, NEPAL – Are you working? Do you think you are alive while you are working? Here is an article written by a professional writer regarding global workforce and their lifestyle and mentality. This article will reveal and let you know understand human segment of workers worldwide and may inspire you to treat your employee better in the future.
There’s an epidemic sweeping businesses today – from the largest Fortune 500 firms – to the small deli down the street. This epidemic kills the creativity and ingenuity that is essential for innovation, which of course, is central to the growth of every business.
This is an epidemic that threatens not only the success and prosperity of
businesses themselves, but nothing less than the long-term economic standing
of every nation in the world. The epidemic? Dead People Working.
You know them because you work with them. They are all around you, in the
next cubicle, down the hall, in your department, on the front line and yes, even in the executive suite. They are physically present, but they are psychologically, emotionally, and intellectually checked-out.
When we ask audiences all over the world, “how many of you know dead people
working” the response is overwhelming. Following the sound of embarrassed
chuckles, hands always go up. The all-too-familiar research from firms such
as Gallup, Walker Information, Hudson Institute, and Towers Watson, shows
that 75% of the workforce is either not engaged or actively disengaged in
their work, and are not loyal to their companies.
But let’s be clear, this force that threatens the very innovation each
business desperately needs to survive isn’t something that just happens.
Boredom, apathy, despair, and indifference – all symptoms of dead people
working – are the result of the choices leaders make.
What sucks the life out of people at work?
Billions of people go to work every day, but way too many of them show up
almost dead on arrival. If your goal is to create a culture of innovation
you first have to understand why this happens. There’s no magic formula or
silver bullet, but we are convinced that if you eliminate these 16 “ailments,” you have a good shot at transforming the dead people working syndrome into a place where impassioned people show up to work every day fully awake, fully engaged, and firing on all cylinders – a place where innovation has a real opportunity to flourish.
1. Employees and customers who are objectified and dehumanized.
Whether leaders refer to them as “expenses,” “intellectual capital,” “most important assets,” or “market segments,” the language is symbolic of the industrial or mechanistic paradigm. People become “things” we use and manipulate on spreadsheets versus “sacred thous” who bring something incredibly special to
the game. By the way, people are not your most important asset – great ideas
are your most important asset, and they only come from people who are alive
2. Meaningless work.
How many people in your company right now are working on things, that five years from today, nobody will care about? To know that our work counts for something is to know that we count. Innovation is about solving problems that matter, problems that make people’s lives and the world better. If you want your employees to change – to show more initiative, take more risks and be more creative – give them something worth changing for.
3. Failure to stretch, grow, and develop people.
Leaders view coaching, mentoring and training as an expense, rather than an investment. If we spent as much time and energy truly identifying, drawing out and developing the gifts and talents of people as we do investing in technology, real estate, and equipment, more people would come to work “alive”. Employees are not commodities that can be used up and swapped out.
When one part of the organisation thinks it’s extra special or more valuable than another part of the organisation, the result is turf battles, finger pointing and an “it’s not my job” mentality. People in “tribalistic” companies forget who the real opponent is. Is the real opponent in here or out there? Competition between departments, business units and various lines of business derails innovation. The most innovative companies in the world trade tribalism for radical collaboration.
5. Leaders who are out of touch.
It’s impossible to anticipate and meet the needs of your employees if you don’t truly understand them. You can’t truly understand them unless you make the time to get to know them. What motivates your people? Where are they uniquely gifted? What are they passionate about at work? The best leaders we know are both interesting and interested.
6. Not enough bandwidth.
While email, cell phones, laptops and other forms of technology were supposed to make us more efficient, the fact is we are never switched “off”. In a world where we are expected to do more with less we respond to email on Sunday afternoons, before we go to bed or right when we wake up, rather than spend time with the family and rejuvenate. The result? We don’t sleep well and we’re fatigued. We go home at the end of the day emotionally-drained versus emotionally charged. We run around pursuing the urgent versus the important with little or no time to reflect and dream about the future of the business. Innovation requires “slack” or down time” to think and ask, “what if.” It needs mental space to nourish new ideas. And, it needs time to explore an experiment.
7. Failure to find the FIT.
“Fit” comes from asking three critical questions: What are my gifts and talents? What am I absolutely passionate about? What needs to be done and where can I make a contribution? When an employee’s gifts and talents are aligned with their passion in a job that makes a valuable contribution, they are happy, alive and having fun at work.
Most companies are not very rigorous about matching employee talents with
the needs of the company. They’re not rigorous about finding the “fit”. We
talk a lot about wellness, but people who are doing work they are not gifted
at and not passionate about are not well; they’re mentally and emotionally
ill. This contributes to decay and deadliness in the organisation.
8. Too much emphasis on titles, rather than results.
Lip service is given to engagement and empowerment, but the real deal is command and control. Employees are inadvertently taught the importance of hierarchy in getting things done. The result is a culture of fear where everyone plays to titles instead of doing what they know is right for the business. The internet just might be the greatest democracy on the face of the earth. If you have a great idea, people follow you. If your content isn’t compelling, they don’t. Creating a culture of innovation is a lot like the internet – the best ideas, not tenure, titles or hierarchy, win.
9. Lack of courage to test new ideas.
People’s spirits are deadened when the waters of creativity are stagnant. Zero defect cultures foster the kind of cautious inactivity that slows the organisation down and makes it sluggish.
We can never know our true capacity unless we are encouraged and willing to
push the limits and test the boundaries of what we are capable of.
Innovation is the result of experimentation, and experimentation is the result of risking more and failing faster. This is why leaders who create an environment that inspires creativity and ingenuity aren’t afraid to reward intelligent failure.
10. Employees who have no voice.
People who have no voice don’t feel trusted or valued. So, they check out. The true experts in most organisations are those closest to the point of action doing the work. They know where the opportunities lie; they know what market trends are emerging; and they know where waste and redundancies exist.
Leaders who fail to put the true experts in control of their work create a
paternal culture where creative discovery, freedom and responsibility are
traded for a reactive, victim-like mentality. Innovation is radical because
it not only changes the rules of the game; it’s about changing the rule makers.
11. Lack of diversity.
We’re not just talking about cultural or ethnic diversity; we’re talking about diversity of thought and ideas. If you only hang out with people who look and think and act like you do, this doesn’t unleash your creativity, it sharpens your prejudice. It takes guts to surround yourself with diverse others. They are often eccentric, weird and difficult to manage. But they are the ones who will draw you out of the comfort zone and take you on an adventure where you can find the next big thing. They will keep it interesting and lively. Innovation feeds on multiple points of view.
12. Employees who embrace a victim mentality.
People want freedom, but they seek safety. Far too many people we have met fail to assume responsibility for their own happiness and well-being at work. They assume it is the organisation’s job to make them happy and content. They assume it’s the organisation’s job to train and equip them to become more marketable.
When the organisation fails, people jump into the blame frame and start pointing fingers. As this cancer spreads it deadens the spirit of the enterprise.
13. Failure to acknowledge the whole person.
Whether it’s sick kids, ageing parents, planning a vacation, visiting a doctor, or dropping off the dry cleaning, life happens when life happens, not just before 8am and after 6pm. Organisations that fail to acknowledge the person behind the software developer or customer service agent fail to acknowledge the distractions that keep these individuals from doing great work. Innovative companies figure out how to eliminate these distractions and make people feel valued.
The result is an incredibly unique culture that has a distinct competitive advantage in attracting the best and brightest talent who, in turn, create world-class products and services.
14. Lack of optimism and resilience.
No one gets it right in business all the time, but successful companies and leaders have the ability to bounce back from failure. Unsuccessful companies let it take them down. The assumption is that optimism and resilience is something you are born with: you either have it or you don’t. The research suggests otherwise. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that optimism can be learned and bred into a culture intentionally.
15. Innovation is messy.
It doesn’t follow a neat, linear path. It offers no guarantees. And, it tests the validity of an idea through trial and error. This is why the “bounce back” factor is so critical. People keep moving forward, trying new things that keep them invigorated.
Inability to celebrate and have fun. There is a “deadliness” in organisations that don’t see the value in, or don’t know how to celebrate. It’s amazing how many really cool things can be going on in a company that most people don’t have a clue about. Celebration fuels people’s fire to do the next great thing. Without it heroic contributions are missed and the emotional bonds that wed people’s affection and enthusiasm to the company are weakened.
16. No cause to fight for.
When the work is defined in terms of a cause, what follows is a movement. A healthy level of fanaticism and missionary zeal characterizes the movement. People want to belong to something larger than themselves – something that gives their lives meaning and significance.
People who have a direct line of sight between their individual contributions and the cause are more engaged. They see innovation as a necessity, as a way to further the cause.
The conclusion of this article is let your workers awake and let them feel they are live and think for the better idea, innovation, progress and build a constant growing companies. Hope this article has thought you something, please write your opinion and comments below.
Article Credit: Drs. Jackie and Kevin Freiberg are best-selling authors of NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and personal Success and NANOVATION: How a Little Car Can Teach the World to Think Big and Act Bold.