What business are you in?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, intra-preneur, or employee you should be worried about a Gallup Poll released a few weeks ago.
The poll finds that 70% of workers in America are disengaged from their work. And while the more cynical among us—or perhaps just the more experienced—may say “only 70%?” with mock amazement, we should all be very concerned about this number on a personal, professional, and societal level.
The most glaring lesson for me is a reaffirmation of just how bad we are at organizing ourselves to do big things. When it comes to bringing people together to do big jobs and complex stuff we rely on management methods little better than those used to build the great pyramids.
While we’ve come a long way as a society since then—the abolishment of slavery and the 5 day work week among our innovations—our mental models are still based on command-and-control management techniques and the repetition of tasks and regimentation of the workforce.
Most of us know in our guts that this is not the best way to make people happy, and this makes us feel bad for them and ourselves. But the issue is deeper than just making people happy.
It’s not just that people are dissatisfied with their jobs it’s that they are unmotivated and disconnected. And this means that their intelligence, creativity and enthusiasm are being squandered. This has a real impact on the bottom line and an even more insidious impact on society.
That we squander human creativity and intelligence—resources that could be used to solve tough problems facing the world—should worry us all.
What’s this got to do with me?
If you’re a manager, leader, or worker in a big business you know in your gut that something has to change and that you’d likely be immediately better off for it if you did. By improving your system you’ll make your own life better but you’ll also increase employee retention, make hiring easier, get products to market faster and at better quality all while lowering litigious management overhead.
I know this all sounds really difficult, but it’s really not that hard once you make it a priority.
If you’re an entrepreneur or leader of a small business this matters to you too. You probably spend most of your days thinking about achieving product-market fit. You may even be a fan of rapid prototyping, lean startup, customer development and design thinking. And while all these systems are great they don’t say anything explicit about culture—and culture is what we are talking about—or how to scale it.
I’ve seen organizations use all the latest cool entrepreneur tools, and create incredibly miserable places to work. One such place—whose name I will not mention—was startup success story just two years ago recently had a well-publicized rapid loss of market cap. And while there a many forces at play when companies fail a disengaged workforce has to be high on the list.
Jobs That Work
What we need is to focus on the system that sits behind our organizations and we need to get serious about it.
Leaders develop people and people develop products.
The system I’m talking about is the culture we create, the engagement we create, and the value we create as a result in it.
In the coming months look for more from me on this topic—it’s becoming something of an obsession. You can help by telling me your story.
What kind of story? I’m glad you asked!
There are enough tails of woe let’s share our stories of workplaces that work, jobs that work, and transformation.
—If you love your job, please share!
—If you love your organization, please share!
—If you had a personal awakening around this and it’s lead to you helping to create a workplace that works then definitely share.
Only by sharing our stories can we all learn to get better. Thank you in advance for your engagement!
And—if you want to keep up with what I learn enter your email below and I’ll send you infrequent updates of my latest findings.