You might see the unpunctuated phrase love at work as a simple statement. Or as a question. Or you might perhaps see it as an exclamation or even a headline in a salacious newspaper or magazine. I cannot predict how you will interpret it, but I hope that, whatever your reaction, it intrigued you enough to keep reading.
In actual fact it is an answer! The answer not so much to a question as to a challenge. It arose from a catch-up conversation with Traci Fenton at Worldblu. After I had explained my ‘Every Individual Matters Model to her, she responded, “I get it but others might not. You need to find a way to explain it more simply: in only a few words that will give them something they can understand, remember and share with others.” I was stunned but it certainly gave me plenty to think about.
Afterwards, as I struggled, I thought about Traci’s own proposition “Freedom at Work,” and our mutual friend, Alex Kjerulf’s, “Happiness at Work” and came up with “Love at Work.” After some initial concerns that it might be ‘too abstract’ or ‘too much’ or ‘too unbusiness-like’ and a complete failure to come up with anything else, I remembered Kahlil Gibran’s inspired and inspiring statement “Work is love made visible” and I became far more comfortable with it. Even better, it fits perfectly with my vision.
As I realised this, I also recognised that the time had come for me to publish my vision and stop seeing it as a personal purpose statement for my own eyes only, to help me shape my own path. So here goes.
I have a vision!
I see a day when all people of all nations will rise up and live their life to their fullest potential.
I see a time when people will no longer allow work to be a four-letter word, something to balance with life, but instead will value it as a vital, integral part of their life.
I see a world where work is not a bind but an opportunity for every person to celebrate the uniqueness of their being and the means to express who they are.
I see each and every person recognising their work as their contribution to humankind; making it a focal point of their lives, striving to maximise what they give and, in the process, optimising who they are.
I see that, as they recognise work as part of life and not an adjunct to it, people will regard their work as their business and do everything in their power to make it a successful business that blesses all it serves, as well as themselves.
I see people treating work as part and parcel of what they have to do, not out of compulsion, but deep desire to be the best they can possibly be; in order that, when their time is up, they can look back with pride.
And I envisage workplaces that recognise people for who they are; that sustain, nurture, encourage and enable them to be their best.
I see workplaces that cease to manage people as a resource and instead improve efficiency by encouraging, enabling and endorsing self-management. I see workplaces that acknowledge people for the assets they are; that give people back their independence and pride; and that bask in the better results this brings.
I see workplaces where command is dead and control is a collective responsibility rather than an imposition: where organisations pursue purpose rather than profits at any price.
I see workplaces operating as teams, where people do not compete, but support one another for the common good; of individual, of organisation and of the wider world.
I see this new outlook bringing a new enthusiasm and creating a zeal that makes all a joy. I see reduced conflict and greater co-operation that makes the world a better place and that enhances its chances of survival.
I see you helping to make it happen!
(© Bay Jordan with acknowledgement to Martin Luther King)
There you have it. Perhaps not such an unbusiness-like proposition but rather an extremely business-like one. What do you think?
Contact me today for a free 30 minute conversation about how my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model can help you create an organisational culture that embraces change and transforms – and sustains – organisational performance.
Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, and the creator of the ‘Every Individual Matters’ organisational culture model that helps transform organisational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement” and, more recently, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped.