©2017 Switch and Shift, LLC
The pursuit of meaning — not happiness — is what makes life worthwhile. Despite Thomas Jefferson including the phrase in the Declaration of Independence, the “pursuit of happiness” is a shortsighted aim. Putting your own well-being before well-doing pulls you in the wrong direction. People who spend life seeking happiness are unlikely to find it. Much like chasing fame or wealth, seeking happiness alone is misguided and often leads to poor decisions.
We needed to measure who experiences the highest levels of purpose today. Why? Measuring employee engagement is nothing new. But survey after survey has missed the elephant in the room: to identify people who are intrinsically motivated to find purpose in their work.
Nearly every successful business leader, inventor, military leader, startup founder has a mentor – present tense. No matter how successful you are, you can still benefit from the guidance of a mentor. Bill Gates, who revolutionized the personal computer and is still the richest man in the world, recently celebrated 25 years of friendship with his friend and mentor, Warren Buffett.
When it comes to designing HR policies and processes for your organization, it’s generally good to start with one assumption: The typical path is almost always the worst path.
Without a manager dictating what people must do, working cooperatively requires colleagues to follow through on their promises. What is not obvious is how to create organizational trust. I spent eight years measuring brain activity while people worked in order to identify the building-blocks of trust, how to measure them, and to determine why people were so much more productive in high-trust cultures.
Ironically, when a team lacks energy or results are lagging, most managers trust less, not more. After all, there’s a lot at stake. And yet, time and time again, we see the teams with the biggest turnarounds have one thing in common – their leader believes in the team’s ability to accomplish the extraordinary and places real team trust in the people to make it happen.
Today’s business environment is full of immediacy, where small influences such as a single tweet can send stock prices soaring or sliding. Leaders are called on to retain calm in the face of pressure, stay focused in our distraction-filled realities and remain open-minded to generate greater insights to challenging situations. Our work with leaders and organizations around the world points to mindful leadership as the key to surviving and thriving.
Research from Hay Group shows that an employees’ immediate manager shapes 70 percent of their experience of work. That’s big. A manager’s leadership style has more meaning to employees than company benefits, peer relationship, project work, and even CXOs. So, if middle-managers are best positioned to create the conditions for employee engagement, how can leadership motivate them to maximize their abilities? Consequently, how would results improve?
Social intelligence was once defined as “the capability to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments.” But what does that mean today when it seems every conversation – and every major issue – is discussed ad nauseam on social and digital media? When perceived injustices – even those over a small $5 monthly fee or a basic customer service issue – are globally amplified? When a single troll can seriously dent your brand’s reputation? What is corporate social intelligence?
In the Industrial Age, many entrepreneurs and corporate leaders focused on building companies that provided a good return for investors and shareholders. In the Social Age, however, it seems the focus of many great companies has changed. They now emphasize development of a community – and ultimately, a culture– that inspires employees to achieve a common goal. Sure those leaders still care about traditional business metrics. But to them, building community is a critical step toward building a great company.