Thursday, September 25, 2003

Soul @ work 

I've felt many times that organisations are more successful - by any measure you could choose - when authentic person-to-person relationships are fostered, rather than austere postholder-to-postholder relationships which may appear efficient in a business context but deny individuality and fail to connect with the greater part of who we are.

So its encouraging to find someone as respected as Roger Lewin saying the same thing:

"...Henry Ford once said, “How come when I want a pair of hands, I get a human being as well?” A manager in today’s knowledge-based economy might paraphrase this: “How come when I want a mind, I get a heart as well?”And how come there commonly continues to exist a denial in the business mind, a stark omission of the importance of people and valuing them for not only the revenues they bring in, but simply as human beings? How come we refuse to see the obvious–that when people are treated as replaceable parts, as objects to control, are taught to be compliant, are used as fuel for the existing system–that inevitably you are going to have an organization that is fraught with frustration, anger, and isolation, which ultimately is detrimental to the business?"

"...When the individual soul is engaged, people naturally want to add value, are willing to go the distance and devote time to endeavors they feel, regardless of how small, are worthwhile. Many people feel lost in their organizations, feel apart from them rather than a part of them. Many see themselves in a system in which they have little or no influence. Too often we heard front-line people, when reflecting on former places of work, say, “Nobody ever asked me what I thought, and it was hardly a possibility that they would act on it if they did.” The business mind that becomes myopic, singularly valuing the financial bottom line and techniques to boost it, ultimately dehumanizes the organization, and, self-protectively, people disconnect from their soul so as not be exploited. People suffer and their organizations suffer."

"...To engage the soul is to see people as people, not as employees. It is to assume an intention of goodwill on their part, and that it is better to err in trusting too much than not enough. It is in recognizing a job well done, not just with money but also with a genuine appreciation. It is to remember that people are inventive. It is to believe in them, not just the numbers. This perspective affects the quality of the interactions in the system, creating positive rather than negative feedback loops; that is, creating trust and commitment, not suspicion and disconnection. It is these feedback loops that can transform the system."

Roger Lewin, quoted at Business Spirit Journal

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