Zoom! What was that?

In responding to the HR Carnival blog challenge set out by @DougShaw1 in his recent post ‘The Carnival is Coming to Town’ on the theme of ‘Beginnings’, it occurred to me that this is potentially all about action. ‘Begin’ is a verb, it’s language to describe the creation of something, or to set some event or thought process in motion. The start of something new. Although I suspect like some of my other blog posts, and perhaps life itself, it never ends the way you plan it at the beginning.

Start GridWith this definition in mind I want to comment upon the immense challenge in beginning anything. A new job, fitness regime, diet, a new business, or perhaps writing a book or even just a blog.  Perhaps you just want to explore thinking in a new way. In any event, it’s immensely difficult to begin anything under our own steam, and with only our initiative and shaky motivation to get us started. It may be that circumstances dictate that others force beginnings upon you, out-with your control; and that may be a good or bad thing, depending on what’s coming your way. If it’s having a baby woohoo! Congrats! But you’ve only yourself to blame for that really. Maybe your new beginning is following a devastating redundancy notice, or perhaps more seriously you have suffered bereavement or a life changing illness.

Whether you want it or not, like it or not, beginnings are also about dealing with change in one form or another. It’s said that change when done to you is distressing, and when done by you is exhilarating. There may be some truth in that, but either way dealing with change when you have to begin on a new path, ordeal or adventure is for me about personal responsibility. Being responsible for ones actions given any set of circumstances is the beginning of wisdom. It is the acceptance of things as they are, and not making your experience any worse or more challenging than it need be, or for that matter any less enjoyable.

BuddhaIf you dip into Buddhist philosophy on this point, you’ll discover that inner peace and understanding derives from recognizing reality, accepting that you can’t change it to suit the desires of your ego, and that in any event why would you want to change anything, if your not in any pain or discomfort. Much happiness or contentment is derived from casting off desires for things or circumstances, which you think, make you happy. Not withstanding love of course, which is unconditional and entirely life affirming. By all means have desires and surround yourself with stuff you don’t really need, but don’t get too attached to it, because it’ll all be gone soon enough, and then you’ll know it was all meaningless decoration. In a nutshell desire is at the root of all unhappiness. For it is all about wanting something you don’t currently have, or wanting someone else to think the way you do. How daft is that?

Equally you may have desires for others to understand you and ‘get you’! So many people seem to need approval for their existence instead of just taking action where it’s necessary and getting on with life. Approval from peers, bosses, colleagues, friends, parents or even kids is really not necessary. Why would your own contentment be consequential upon the approval of others? It’s simply not real, and is a psychological construct allied to your ego and it’s insatiable need for approval, control, satisfaction and irrational need to be right all the time. Thoughts of this nature are merely inhibiting fearful little mischievous ego traps to prevent you doing anything of worth for yourself. Such thoughts are self-defeating negative voices which tell you that you are nothing special and are incapable of doing anything of any value on your own initiative.

Fear-nosferatuWe seem to live in a state of self imposed perpetual fear of change. Its often even terrifying to think of things changing, it can even make us ill. At a deeper instinctive level, as biological animals we tell ourselves subconsciously, that we only need food, shelter and security, and an environment in which to breed with a suitable mate. Life is of course far more complex for humans than other animals because of our complex cognitive and creative abilities. So our imaginative desires are often at odds with our more simple needs. Hence the conflict, and often mental turmoil within us all. It’s a bugger isn’t it? Meaningful beginnings are possible only by recognizing that you must take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. Be mindful and psychologically present in your endeavours, and especially when dealing with others, in whatever context.

Beginnings are also only owned by you when your clear in your own mind what it is you want to achieve. Without that clarity of purpose, personal responsibility and focused mindfulness, what are you doing with your life? Are you where you want to be right now? Or are you drifting with all the other flotsam and jetsam? Is this part of the plan you had for yourself, or was there no plan? Has life been having you instead of you having a life? Regrettably, that’s true for most of us to a large extent, so perhaps today, right now, is the beginning of taking control of your as yet undefined destiny through personal responsibility and clearly defined action.

Toddler taking steps on a beachStop giving credence to fearful little thoughts inhibiting your confidence and self worth. Accept your circumstances as they are right now and get on with being you. You are capable, talented, funny, loving, industrious and inspiring! Whatever your circumstances, be they sad or joyous, remember that the most surprising and wonderful experiences we have in life are in the little daily gems of our shared humanity, which as I said in a previous blog is bonded through our common fragility on this fragile earth.

In concluding, its well worth noting that given there is in reality no past or future, and only ever now, every waking moment is a chance for you to create a new beginning for yourself. Give it a shot; you might like it! …Oh wait a second, just before you go, if your afraid you might fail in this new beginning, that’s OK, you don’t have to do anything. It’s probably safer that way.

“Zoom! What was that? That was your life, mate”

Fawlty Towers Clip Courtesy of John Cleese.

The Ministry of Truth: 2+2 = ?

Newspaper SalesAs I made my daily spin through my incoming twitter feed this morning I noticed amongst other great little tweets that @officeinsight (Mark Eltringham) had announced that his ‘Workplace’ focused news site http://www.officeinsight.org had achieved 1000 readers yesterday for the first time. This is a notable and significant landmark in readership for an online trade news source, that didn’t exist at the start of the year. Mark, Sara Bean and his other excellent contributors have achieved what larger equivalent print trade magazines can only dream of in terms of online reach. He has done this by not replicating a publishing model for the old order but creating a highly interactive and invigorating experience online. There are articles of interest for everyone whether FM’s, designers, HR professionals, property managers and fit-out sector suppliers etc. He has achieved this through effort of will and a determination to be relevant and interesting, and often highly amusing. So congratulations are in order, and well deserved!

Following some gentle ribbing that it was partly down to his 2 squillion daily tweets, some of which I and others have gratefully retweeted, I dangled a little retweet ‘fish’ of my own for him to retweet. Incidentally, who would have thought such a strange new word like ‘retweet’ would have such significance for global communication, publishing, social commentary and commerce. It’s the ‘retweet’ that has the reach, not the ‘tweet’. The dangling ‘fish’ for the little tweeting bird was a link to my last blog post entitled ‘Seminar Propaganda: The Emperor’s New Clothes’, which is essentially my energetic tongue in cheek commentary on the plethora of bandwagon seminars popping up that purport to espouse wisdom on all things ‘Workplace’. My point of view is that a combination of professional pride and commercial imperatives are stifling an open debate about what office occupiers really want, and need; especially in an environment of apparently increasing democratization in workplaces.

Head SandMark tweeted back to me rather than retweet the ‘tempting’ link to my radical post, which is absolutely fine of course, I tried at least, knowing it was a contentious subject. He responded though saying something that on the face of it seemed very reasonable and eminently sensible, namely that “I think we’re guilty of some of the things you identify in that blog, but that’s commerce”. He went on to say in his next tweet “Challenge would be to put together a conference solely with practitioners as speakers, telling the truth, free to attend but possibly sponsored by firms”. A very sound suggestion, and a point made to me by the excellent @SimonHeath1 last weekend. A commerce free debate on ‘Workplace’ issues and strategy is what I am all about in any event, as evidenced in my blog posts, but to read the deflating statement “that’s commerce”, it was like a big wet rank fish dumped on my lap. As if it were understandable and acceptable to trade in a black market commodity of misunderstood platitudes and half baked poisonous ‘Workplace’ recipes in seminars and conferences? It’s genuinely sad. Mark is of course correct though.

It’s OK however, so long as we retain the conceit that given they’re selling and your buying it’s fine to hold our noses and gulp down the big mouthfuls of apocryphal half baked stinky workplace fish. We all know its highly distasteful and may make you sick, but come on everyone; we all have to earn a buck. What is it they say about the truth getting in the way of…Mmm, this fish is lovely. Can I have some more please? Luckily there’s a plentiful supply.

So a reasonable question would be, do commercial imperatives stifle open and honest debate? or is the status quo perfectly acceptable for everyone except me and a handful of vocal others in workplace?

big_brotherIt would seem that with some notable exceptions, such as that of the socially engaging unconference style favoured by @Dougshaw1 in his What Goes Around Limited HR sessions, part of the problem is that the larger conference forums such as put on by the BCO (Madrid this year), or Workplace Trends or ‘Worktech’ are structured in such a way as to preclude actual broad and inclusive discussion and debate, even at plenary sessions, with no forum for broader points and challenges to be explored further for wider dissemination and peer review. Not withstanding any gratefully received live tweeting, everyone is facing the guy at the front, why has he/she got the floor anyway? There is a room full of experienced designers, architects, HR professionals, agents, FM’s, contractors and occupiers, with their stories. Most of whom sadly wouldn’t say boo! to a goose, when 200 colleagues are looking in their direction. That’s one for the psychology skills of Nigel @oseland perhaps both on the traditional structure of the ‘Workplace Trends’ gig and the missed opportunities to hear the great ideas and thoughts from the introverts and others in the crowd.

CorporateWorldSo what we have are annual ‘Workplace’ events sponsored by global corporations for elevated market profile, and speakers selling their little piece of whatever it is their selling this year, probably the same as last year, but repackaged with a social paradigm twist. Maybe it’s E-surveys (See my Living by Numbers post), or software solutions, books and consulting services? Can nobody see what is happening here? Is it really just me?

A final question, where and when is ‘Workplace’ strategy and design openly debated in a non-commercial, non-partisan setting, and if not, does it really matter anyway? I raised this topic in my previous post on Tomorrow Never Knows: Evolving Ideas. If in 1984, the ‘Ministry of Truth’ indoctrinates, tortures and brainwashes Winston Smith into believing that 2+2 = Five, who is he to disagree. Don’t dissent. It’s easier that way. Right? It certainly makes sense commercially. No question.

“Underneath the spreading Chestnut Tree, I sold you and you sold me”.

Important Note: In accordance with the RSPWP guidelines (Royal Society for the Protection of Workplace Pundits): No conference organizers or speakers were harmed in the making of this blog.

Closing scene of ‘1984’ starring John Hurt.

Seminar Propaganda: The Emperor’s New Clothes

newclothesThe Plot: A vain Emperor who cares for nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretence not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretence, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but continues the procession.

When will the innocent, and I have to say often slightly naïve attendees of workplace conferences and seminars realise that the organisers and speakers have an agenda that is the polar antithesis of their own. These ‘Workplace’ guru wannabe speakers typically spout self-reverential apocryphal guff, using often misunderstood and borrowed consultancy vocab clichés. Doubtless picked up from someone else’s equally half-baked, grasping at straws, seminar the week before. Or if they’re a little up market, perhaps their source material was drawn from a seldom viewed 2007 TED talk found through a lucky Google search. Which resulted in a landing on someone’s decaying tumbleweed strewn blog page, hosted on a lesser known island off the eastern tip of ‘The Federated States of Micronesia’, thereby hoping nobody will have seen it recently.

Professor ObamaAs long as the conceit that their talk is a highly original insightful analysis based upon balanced emotional intelligence, considered intellect, and much practical experience; and all their own work, all will be well. So long as the audience is convinced that the speaker, has a massive presidential brain, is an expert (Allegedly) within their own field, within 20 minutes, it’s job done! However, it’s a game of performance and script designed to lure you in to believing that what they’re saying is true and will have a positive impact upon you and your business. Credit where it’s due when you come away thinking you’ve heard a great speaker, even if you can’t remember a word they’ve said. It’s quite a skill, and not to be underestimated.

Mary-PoppinsWith this in mind, there are several things to note when listening to these oh so confident gently gesticulating guru like speakers. It’s the free seminars you need to worry about most of all. Primarily, because they are selling a product that ultimately requires payment, a huge payment. It could be for desks and chairs, fitout and refurbishment contracting, ICT Infrastructure products & consultancy, property agency commission, or an architectural or interior design commission. There are equally inherent dangers in paying for a larger, more professional conference. Perhaps you’ve just clicked ‘Pay Now’ on an easy PayPal payment for the privilege of attending a broader less-partisan commercial event, discussing the weighty and evergreen ‘Workplace’ topics of our time, such as the perennial old chestnuts of ‘Wellbeing’, ‘Productivity’, ‘Creativity’, ‘Collaboration’ or ‘Agile (give me f***ing strength) working’, what is it called this week anyway? ‘Superflexi-Unrealistic-Bound To Be-Atrocious’. It will be if you let a marketing professional or narcissistic workplace wannabe convince you that their angle and take on it is the definitive word on the subject.

Hyperbolae like “We commissioned a survey of blah blah businesses considering a relocation in the next 18 months blah blah, and 92% of respondents stated that they thought walking was integral to getting from A to B” or “Our experience shows that 60% of property managers would rather make the wrong decision, than admit to their senior colleagues that they don’t really understand what ‘Agile (give me f***ing strength) working’ really is and why so many workplace pundits are referencing it as so crucially important to employee ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘Creativity’. Blah blah. Ooh, I’m feeling giddy now. I can only take so much creativity before I feel faint.

Star TrekIt used to be that workplace pundits headlined ‘Flexible Working’ as a big ‘Real Estate’ cost saver, but that’s not fashionable any more,  oh no, that’s passé. The way to attracting fresh new uninitiated clients is to sell the idea that in the new fluffy socially connected world (OK, ‘paradigm’, I can’t help it) it’s vital to have more zany and varied interiors, more bright comfy chairs, and multifunction sensorial play spaces. Especially if you want to attract the [braces himself]…yes I’m going to say it…Gen Y, and emerging millennials. [Winces with professional embarrassment] Like me perhaps you’ve heard it all before, and wonder why nobody has the answers to the fundamentals. It’s because the whole sphere has become so huge, that nobody questions its presence or origins. ‘Workplace’ as a topic has it’s own gravitational pull now. Attracting all kinds of low flying junk and detritus, having fallen out of previously stable orbits, far from the centre. Although sticking with a celestial spheres theme, I’m mixing my metaphors a little here; it’s comparable to the voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. Voyager 1 is currently leaving the edges of the solar system, rising above the ecliptic plane at an angle of about 35 degrees at a rate of about 320 million miles a year. Maybe life will reflect art and as in the original Star Trek movie of 1979, Voyager (VGER) will return one day as an all powerful thinking being demanding to know it’s creator, and asking why it exists?

Frankenstein & MonsterOr is Frankensteins monster a better analogy I wonder? There is so much workplace BS now that it’s a self-perpetuating, self-feeding monster beyond anyone’s control or understanding. Bolted together workplace terminologies along with unconvincing psychobabble regurgitated in regular workplace seminars scare the hell out of me. Unpicking the complexities of what constitutes a clear and simple ‘workplace’ occupancy strategy is not helped by regular misinterpretations reinforced by desperation driven by professional pride, and interwoven with ignorant misunderstanding and platitudes borne of commercial imperatives. There is a virtual domino effect spreading ever outward like a relentless unstoppable virus through seminars and conferences, and tweeted instantly around the planet by well meaning attendees who accept that convincing well rehearsed speakers must be credible, and understand their subject.

Now we can all be misinformed in the blink of an eye, and in just a few retweets and with a little more plagiarism and editing, it’s picked up by some young blogger in Moscow, who posts excitedly to his followers that the 140 character nano post from London’s latest ‘Workplace’ seminar is a revelation. Which then gets picked up by the Guardian newspaper online, which influences an editorial in the New York times, read by a blogger with a huge following in south Africa, who tweets that apparently if you do X you get Y…with easy to follow link to New York times story to verify.  Ad infinitum. It’s a tragedy of global proportions that the social media age has not helped.

Sideshow Carnival ClownsIt would obviously stretch credulity to have a carpet manufacturer or partitioning company put on some ‘Workplace’ related seminars, for after all they just weave carpets, and erect partitions, and what would they know about the subtle/complex interplay between occupiers, workspace and property. Whereas fitout contractors, furniture firms and self-proclaimed IT futurologists clearly have the inside track on what’s relevant because that’s what they do on a daily basis. Er! Wait a second! No they don’t, do they? What they do is by merit of their association, through their core business activity, is to align themselves to the ‘Workplace’ debate. They find a passable justification to ramp up their marketing machine to gloss up what little ‘Workplace’ strategy knowledge they may have, and that’s mostly none, to put on a little ‘Workplace’ show. Much like an attention grabbing fairground sideshow that draws in the curious and wide-eyed. “Roll up! Roll up!”, “Come hear the mesmerising honeyed tones of ‘Madame Mellifluous’, she can transport you to the most beautiful and productive workplaces you can possibly imagine, and never leave the comfort of your stackable seat. You’ll be amazed at what she can make you believe”. “Roll up! Roll up!”. It’s free! “Don’t forget to fill in our short feedback form with your contact details at the end, because we care deeply about what you think of our speakers, and what is relevant to you”. Don’t forget your email address?

Working Very SociallyWith the clever use of only one bubble diagram, two small info-graphics, one (fairly recent) case study and a royalty free image of laughing workers co-working themselves hilariously and productively across your field of vision, you too will believe that she is the most erudite, witty and awe inspiring voice you have ever heard on this subject. You will feel as if red rose petals are falling from the sky, whilst the blinding light of ultimate truth shines behind her, silhouetting her goddess like figure, as she sweetly, almost hypnotically tells you that research tells us that by 2025 40% of us will be working alone (Speak for yourself), and that when designing your office it’s important to create spaces to think. Oh for f***ks sake! Seriously! Yup, it’s important not to forget to think. … [Thinks] … Oh Sorry, I just lost my train of thought there as I fell out of my ‘acme’ (patent pending) big purple sound proof ‘Think-o-pod’ before completing the sentence. Oops!

All I am saying, and not for the first time on this blog is question what you hear in ‘Workplace’ circles and seminars, especially free ones, challenge the veracity of suspiciously apocryphal statements, and don’t be afraid to say “I don’t believe a word your saying” or “you have no evidence whatsoever that anything of what you have said is true or has any validity with anyone”. You’ll find that the more you probe and interrogate the closer you will get to the actual truth; namely that you must remain vigilant and make up your own mind about what’s right for you and your business. There are no panacea solutions.

I will say this in concluding. If for the most part there is good open communication, trust and belief between everyone in your organisation, you will be able to arrive at an acceptable consensus, with a well-considered viewpoint and occupancy vision for your organisation. It won’t necessarily require any external consultancy BS served up by strangers, struggling to look and sound interesting, and looking for a five-figure fee or big juicy fit-out contract at 35% margin.

Don’t forget that consultants charge you to take your watch from you in order to tell you the time.

‘Duel’ Courtesy of ‘Propaganda’ 1985…

Tomorrow Started

I awoke this morning having had a perfectly deep and comfortable but somewhat broken sleep. My eyelids had drifted open imperceptibly slowly just before 4am, as usual. I often awake around 4am for no apparent reason; there had been no noise, discomfort or disturbance of any kind, no unresolved or disturbing dreams. I simply breathed into consciousness, quite against my desire to remain fast asleep. A long deep refreshing sleep is simply one of life’s immense pleasures, I’m sure you agree? Not withstanding what else life may cast in your direction on any given day, it’s better handled after a good nights sleep.

Digital Clock-2In my line of sight, I had unconsciously glanced at the orange glowing characters of my digital tinnitus inhibiting radio alarm clock. Unrelated to my tinnitus, I could hear a wholly inaudible click in my head as the fourth, seemingly enormous hazy numeral, changed from ‘1’ to ‘2’. Ker…lunk! I said to myself, without conjuring up a single conscious thought. This was merely a silence (Tinnitus aside) in the night followed by another louder more defined silence, and marked only by my observation of the tiny change in the energy levels in front of me. Nothing had happened, save for my semiconscious observation of the clock, one outward involuntary breath, which would barely mist up a mirror, and the passing of a single second.

Ever since owning my first digital watch as a kid, in the 1970’s, I have been oddly fascinated that given their geometry, you can represent all the numbers 0 through 9 from a single symmetrical pattern formed of seven little straight lines, four vertical and three horizontal, which you only clearly notice on observing the number 8. Did the original creators of numbers (Hindu-Arabic Numerals) as symbols in India 2,500 years ago know this? I guess so. It’s also odd that if you write out 3.14 using the straight-line geometry in digital clocks and hold the number to a mirror, the reflection alphabetically spells PI.E. A joyful little coincidence I fear, rather than proof positive that we’re all part of a complex bio-software program, à la matrix. Although, the thought of the possibility of being in someone else’s irrational pointless game amuses my mischievous and curious mind.

Sleeping ClocksIn that millisecond in time between the last second of 03.51am and the first second of 03.52am, accompanied by an equally faint inward breath, I thought of nothing. Although, I was evidently awake and conscious to a degree, as I had registered the time on the clock, and it’s display change just at the very same moment in which I had gazed peacefully but involuntarily ahead, through my weary dark brown eyes, which now wouldn’t close.

It may seem odd, but whenever on those rare occasions, I turn to look at a digital watch or clock and in the same instance it changes from one minute to the next, for me it’s like looking at the stars in the night sky and smiling inside, when you see a meteorite strike briefly across the sky; as it burns like a stricken match upon our thin frictional atmosphere. It’s a tiny instant in time, but observing the moment is life affirming. Seeing the change, and making it your own experience, for nothing but the pleasure of it. Although, effecting change yourself seems to be even more life affirming, absorbing, and fulfilling. There’s something about our consciousness and it’s relationship to seeing or creating change that enables us to be more content than we would otherwise be.

shooting starOur highly evolved DNA programming does not work in our favour when nothing changes; we become unhappy, disillusioned or even frustrated through apparent boredom. Although, I would say that what keeps us content and motivated is not merely change itself, but moreover the arrival or realization of the unexpected. I obviously discount natural disasters, bee stings, tax demands and skin disorders and the like. I have in mind a colour rich country landscape of blue and green caught in a hazy orange/pink dusky sunlight, or seeing the first full cherry blossom of spring or receiving an unexpected phone call from an old friend in the early evening, fondly remembered; or perhaps on hearing a piece of music for the first time, or even better, hearing or seeing something you hadn’t noticed before in the otherwise familiar.

With this desire for surprise and revelation in mind, at our ‘heart’ as a species we are arguably explorers, philosophers and scientists, whether we like it or not. We seek new experiences, new environments, original thoughts, alternative ideas and new ways of binding important relationships. We are on a journey of discovery in the cosmos, and on our little blue planet, but also within ourselves. We wish to know more, and our instincts tell us to investigate and assimilate. We live to push knowledge boundaries, and seek out new experiences, and gain greater understanding. The reason is that our very existence and the concept, never mind reality, of all life is a perplexing mystery, which demands many questions and answers; or if you’re so inclined, acceptance and mindfulness. A foot in both camps serves us well.

Although indeed much scientific evidence would suggest that our predisposition to exert control over our built and natural environments and socio-economic constructs is at odds with the cycles and patterns found within nature and it’s cycles within the physics of our universe. Yet, given that we likely know what is fundamentally broken within our societies, cultures, and economies (Workplaces) we persist in repeating the errors and follies of the past, in the vain hope that perhaps we/you/they will be the lucky ones, who can benefit from some short term financial gain, in order to achieve personal but passing desires and acceptable exit strategies. Particularly given external pressures from sources out with our control. A perennial challenge to all.

spiders webWhether you’re a Politician, Banker, Company Director or put upon ‘Employee’. A long term and sustainable organizational strategy that benefits both organization and individual is sorely lacking in virtually every arena of endeavor. Organizations fail and collapse with increasing regularity these days because they simply have no long-term vision about why they are in business, what they’re selling in terms of an idea and who sustains and nourishes that idea, both internally and externally. It ought to be a matter of sharing the vision, and encouraging others to contribute to achieving that vision, and to be clear in all channels of communication. Corporate goals should never be cash or profit for their own sake. Therein lies disaster and inevitable disappointment. When a vision is evident and recognized, bought into and rewards shared, you then have a potential for a wider shared stake in the outcomes.

The word ‘Stakeholder’ is sadly often over used as a politically acceptable BS term for ‘employee & minion wage slave’. (Please read Neil Ushers’ superbly well considered post on workplace related BS terms ‘It is what it is & nothing more’.)

butterfly-1Incidentally, salary or wages are now well known to be half way down a list of top ten workplace motivators in any event. The human condition responds to challenge and responsibility first and foremost, and in so doing we are part of something creative and life affirming. We bring about change in whatever form that may take, and we take satisfaction and psychological reward from personally absorbing activity and it’s manifest results. When our peers see what we have done and acknowledge this we are affirmed as alive and vital, and we feed on this positive feedback loop. That is to say that putting something of yourself; as artists do into their work will generate effective, authentic and meaningful feedback and outcomes.

You cannot put yourself into something if you do not care about the outcome. Whether it’s how customers feel if you’re in a service industry or whether it’s the design of a new fuel-efficient hydrogen engine, or a beautifully considered work of Art. Caring about outcomes at a corporate level will only occur when organizations recognize at board level that all employees are part of their business and can make it sustainable and profitable, because when everyone cares you get 100% motivation and genuine participation. This happens because at a neurological level, we are rewarded by being part of, and seeing the change we create. We have a shared mission. Making stuff happen, being creative, and discovering the new is at the core of who we are, and it’s immensely rewarding to be productive in this fashion, and equally we must be recognized by our peers for our efforts or the collective vision will shatter and dissipate. It will be seen for the façade that it is.

Sharp honeycomb beeDon’t wait for some other corporate entity to re-engineer the structure of their business, and watch from the sidelines whether it works or not, presumably on a short-term financial only basis. Get fully immersed in understanding the intrinsic link between human motivations and rewards, the power of personal responsibility, and the benefits of flexible working to support autonomous thinking in your organization. Be clear in what you are seeking to achieve and share your vision.

I’ll likely wake again tomorrow at just before 4am for no apparent reason, and unlike many I will hopefully turn one fleeting abstract moment and an unconscious breath into something I can use to share a vision in which I’m convinced we can all benefit.

Time marches on…

‘Tomorrow Started’ Courtesy of ‘Talk Talk’ 1984