We live in interesting times.
Having a rather positive and excited perspective on our future in terms of life expectancy, employability, quality of life and environmental protection, I would like to discuss very briefly the importance of “work done beautifully”. This idea is originally introduced by Tim Leberecht ( http://timleberecht.com/) , who is known in the business world as one of the so called business romantics – “a global collective of strategists, advertisers, curators, artists, developers, designers, researchers, and data scientists with the shared mission to bring beauty and enchantment to business” as described in his blog.
The main idea is that soon we will have a very rapid growth of unemployability rates, thanks to factors such as the AI revolution, machine-based production and BI platforms. When efficiency, productivity and low cost production are on the top of the succesful business model, there isn’t really a way we can deny that many machines are way more effective and cost cheaper than human work force.
However, if you remember the Maslow’s pyramide of needs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs) , and put this in the context of the corporate world, we could imagine a pyramide that has a different structure, suitable for the needs of the companies.
If we judge by three main factors – sales revenue, customer satisfaction rate and business sustainability, could we argue which one of the three is the most important? Which one should we put on the top and which – at the bottom? In the same way, if we have work done in the most effective way, can we also assure that it is done in an empathic (beautiful) way- considering human needs in the process- and also could it be with the highest quality possible if these needs are ignored ?
There are many companies that focus their financial, creative and organizational efforts on efficiency and their strategies include internal processes that enhance this priority. Efficency has always been a top business skill, regardless of the industry. However, in our modern times and as many examples would confirm, we have issues that expand on broader business problems that are hard to be resolved in the traditional way in which business has always been done. Some of these issues include the need for environmental sustainability approach to the way we do what we do and the need of creative and non-conventional thinking in our problem solving strategies. Why? Because we live in times that have re-defined the way we communicate, connect and learn and have put values on top that have the potential to destroy the Earth from inside out. “Ignorance is bliss” for far too many people, but unfortunately our time is running and at one point – as historically proven- we might not have the time to reflect once we are called for immediate actions.
But do we have to push the limits to the “break point” or could we focus our efforts in preventing possibly critical to our existence disasters? Haven’t we reached a peak of our mental and emotional state as humans or has the technology progress blurred our own perceptions of what human development is ?
In this context, I hope that the idea of “doing business beautifully” might sound less romantic and more practical – as a way to bring back (possibly essential to our survival) tendencies in our offices and back in our minds. Things like emphasizing on empathy as a highly valued trait not because we want to be “trendy” and to promote positive work culture, but because we know well that businesses are made by the people for the people. And we all know how companies put tremendous efforts to ensure good working environments in order to atract employees and to be more successful and competitive on the market. Sadly, in many cases, we don’t see true changes in the corporate way of thinking about human resources, but rather – a marketing strategy, designed to allure without real satisfaction for the workers.
Some other principles include focus on details, opening communication chanels for discussion, investing in learning methods that are entertaining, listening actively, expressing the importance of relationships in the business world with data and balancing the corporate efforts not only in direction of success, but also – of humanization. ( all the strategies are referenced from here – http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/04/6-ways-hr-leaders-can-help-humanize-organization.html ).
I would like to leave you with two quotes that differ in perspective, but complement each other in understanding the complexity of the humanization process. I am confident that many of us are already asking these hard questions and we have to find their answers – sooner or later. Until then, I challenge you to be a tiny little bit more beautiful in your work life.
Maybe a smile to a colleague that is a stranger?
Or a surprise coffee for the beautiful secretary on the fifth floor?
Or simply saying thank you when someone does something for you?
Simple words and simple acts all have the potential to turn a world around, even if it’s just someone’s world for a moment. Because later, this moment might be a motivation for change – regarding our personal and professional development, for the better.
“What we are now witnessing in the 21st century is the fracture or complete breakdown of families, societies, and governments as a result of centuries of dehumanization that have taken a toll. More natural disasters (tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, etc.) merely uncover the reality of the national disasters we have created by grandting sanctuary to dehumanization via the law.”
“Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.”
― Dean Koontz