Is your organisation run as a machine, or is it run as a living entity that displays the full range of human emotions? If as a machine, you’re not getting the best out of your resources.
Traditionally the organisation is thought of and run as a machine that considers labour and materials as inputs, and products and services as outputs. Management’s job is to optimise the systems and processes so that they bring the largest financial reward. They do it by controlling productivity, efficiency and quality. It is seen as an engineering problem to maximise output and minimise cost.
In reality, organisations are not machines, but living entities that display the full range of human emotions. And that’s because organisations are a group of PEOPLE who come together to accomplish something they could not otherwise do on their own. In fact, 100% of your employees, clients, and customers are PEOPLE. And as PEOPLE, they [we] are not simply turned on and motivated by the physical workings of a mindless machine.
Call it human engagement, fulfilment or employee satisfaction. Emotional and spiritual engagement and motivation, not physical re-engineering, provide the ultimate answers to increased productivity, creativity, and organisational effectiveness. What has been labelled the “soft stuff” – the intangibles – is fast becoming the new “hard stuff”; the stuff that makes the difference between being good and great, between 5% growth and 15% growth, between being on budget and on fire.
At the heart of this new “movement” is the recognition that people do not just work for the pay cheque at the end of each month. Every workplace survey done over the past decade lists a whole heap of other factors — respect, autonomy, mastery, purpose — ahead of salary as the reasons why people turn up to work every day.
The bottom line is that people – you and me – want to be part of something we can believe in; something that confers meaning on our work and on our lives. And organisations that do see themselves as a living entity know this. They know that when their employees are encouraged to find meaning through their work; to make a difference at their place of work, to their customers, in their local community; and to serve society and humanity on the planet, they bring forth the deepest levels of motivation, creativity and loyalty. And this is not just a fairy tale or a nice idea.
The Gallup Organisation’s ten year survey of ten million customers, three million employees, and two hundred thousand managers across hundreds of organisations all over the world [Follow This Path], found the link between engaged people and organisational performance to be unequivocal.
In the words of Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup,
“The success of your organisation doesn’t depend on your understanding of economics, or organisational development, or marketing. It depends, quite simply, on your understanding of psychology; how each individual employee connects with your company; how each individual employee connects with your customers.”
Gallup then backs up his claim with their survey findings. Business units in the top half of employee engagement [compared with business units in the bottom half] show 86% higher success rate on customer metrics; 70% higher success in lowering turnover, 70% higher success rate in productivity; 44% higher success rate in profitability; and 78% higher success rate in safety figures.
Question: So how do you breathe life into the organisational machine?
Answer: By creating meaning. The job of organisations today is not just to make money, it’s to make meaning. Steve Jobs knew this better than anyone, intuitively, which is why he is being lauded as the greatest business visionary of our time.
When it comes to attracting, keeping, and inspiring people, money alone won’t do it. People want to be part of something that involves a cause; a purpose that offers people a chance to do work that makes a difference, and a “reason why” they should care.
They don’t want that cause to turn into the kind of predictable “mission statement” that plasters many a corporate boardroom wall. Along with the traditional [mechanical] bottom line, highly successful organisations have a second [humanistic/emotional] bottom line viz. a return on human investment that advances a larger purpose. A powerful cause that is both a magnet and a motivator.
Your BRAND is that powerful cause, that “reason why”, that meaning. Branding is the meaning-making machine that drives high employee fulfillment and engagement. Branding is the meaning-making machine that attracts customers and earns their trust and loyalty.
People will come and work for you not because they need a job, but because they believe what you believe. People will buy your products and services not because you have something they need or want, but because they believe what you believe.
And, as we all know, people who believe what you believe will walk to the end of the earth for you, no matter how much [or how little] you pay them to do it.