What’s Missing in Our Organizations
The faint buzzing sound accompanied by employees arriving to work is from rote behavior of “plugging” in and re-running the daily activities dominating corporate life.
Too many of our workplaces have become a place where employees plug in, do their work, unplug and go home. The monotony has sucked out joy from work. And we’ve accepted this unfortunate reality as “it’s the way it is.” After all, it’s just work. Right?
And for some work is merely a means to an end: puts food on the table, pays the bills, affords vacations or other joys in life. But I can’t help but wonder if this is an outcome from buying into the status quo.
I’ve never bought into the “it’s the way it is” viewpoint no matter the context. For businesses, it’s an agonizing fall to irrelevancy and eventually death.
So, if the workplace is depleted of joy, what’s missing? Certainly the answer could elicit an extensive list. My list reflects what I believe would add a bit more color to the drab grey metaphorically covering our workplaces today.
Our workplaces need a sense of optimism infused into the culture. Let’s prove that work connected to a cause can rally a team to believe in something great again. We need managers who are willing to help employees see that their work matters.
In the factory, employees had no freedom to choose how to do their work or what to work on, for that matter. In our knowledge economy, employees need the freedom to choose how they can apply their talents to solve the company’s problems. Helicopter managers annoy and destroy autonomy. They deplete optimism.
I’m borrowing this item from a talk I heard Gary Hamel give. Paradox creates creative conflict if nurtured appropriately. Hamel suggests that managers need to be both radical and practical, simultaneously. The tension inherent between the two lets emerge a bit of uncertainty that can electrify the mundane to become fascinating, perhaps exhilarating.
The silos resurrected and openly hated that populate the organizational landscape have insulated us from differences. The ability to cooperate with another area outside our silo is too often fraught with poor or no decisions, myopic solutions, to name a few. Silos are contrary to how we are wired. We are social beings. We need interaction. We need more cooperation across the organizational landscape to solve the complex problems facing us in the 21st century.
Assuredly this list could be longer. I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to add to this list.
We can no longer allow the mundane workplaces to rob from us the ability to apply our talents and do great things at work together.
Art by Voxx