Most team building and professional development curriculums are very good at creating an atmosphere of fun and connection. Playing games and executing team exercises definitely have their place. And it is good to deepen relationships and increase communication. But the purpose behind any professional development program should be about acquiring the very skills that allow your team to produce more and better results… in other words… INCREASE PROFIT.
So why does a manager, entrepreneur or CEO struggle so much with motivating their staff strive for more? Two Reasons 1) people only operate from a place of self-interest 2) Philosophically more attention needs to be paid on the purpose of business.
Neither one of which are complicated, but do require some explanation.
Business is about profit. And while that remains a constant, it also remains a significant problem. “What’s in it for me…?” employees ask. Employees burn out and check out when their daily lives are about “Feeding the Machine.” “The Machine” is a perfect metaphor for the way executives have been looking at business. Generating profit is what the machine is built to do. We understand that a machine finds efficiency in the perfect execution of order and in an effort to meet the demands of shareholders; we’ve mechanized the process of business. This model was ideal in the late ’80s and early ’90s when it allowed us to use technology as a means to capitalize on an emerging global market.
However we are entering a tail spin where “The Machine” has created a sociological quandary in which the humanistic pieces are wound way too tight. Businesses are living, breathing entities… with an identity and a soul. Innately business… is about people and the lives that they lead. Individuals function most effectively when money isn’t even involved. The concept of profit is basically mechanical and remains an enigma to even the most motivated and successful VP who, like the janitor, is over-mortgaged and stressed with credit card dept.
Money and profit is a mechanistic concept perpetuated by those that operate the machine as a mechanism for power, and control. Although we remain under the either and at the mercy of “The Matrix”… for the first time, we collectively comprehend that it truly exists. It is within this comprehension that a social change is taking place within the consciousness of the labor force. We know we are stuck… in order to “live life” we have a two income family so that we can live in the right neighborhood, drive the right vehicles, belong to the right social groups and on Monday start our week, feeding the machine.
It’s a seemingly endless cycle that is eating away at the souls of Americans and they are starting to get fed up. They’re asking themselves the question… is this all there is to life? Deep down they recognize the answer… is no.
FACT: employees have a secret desire to be business savvy and possess the business skills that create industry dominance.
As you hear these words, hundreds of thousands of employees are sitting in their cubicles right now searching the internet for a better employment opportunity… and they are finding it. Whether it be; a self-employment opportunity, a related industry or the competition, the demand for competent help is so massive, that the new competitive arena in business is the pursuit to attract, find and keep talent.
The Machine itself has created a massive need for the expression of meaning within the lives of its humanistic parts… If this need were among your consumer base, millions of dollars would be poured into R & D, and in 90 days to 6 months the rush to market with goods and services would ensue. But because its about your staff and NOT your consumer, this need will remain largely unmet. The demand for a talented workforce is becoming so strong, that eventually businesses will find a way to meet this humanistic need for purpose and meaning as a recruiting and retention tool.
Finally with our grasp is a professional development curriculum that is not only effective but intoxicating. One that philosophically shifts the consciousness of “the machine” to one that stimulates personal responsibility and self-directed effort. When you do this among individuals within the structure of a high performance team, something truly magical begins to appear.
Business skills are sorely lacking in organizations today. Even high level executives are pathetic at running and executing a simple meeting, why else are employees so reluctant to attend? In the New Economy, the best sort of compensation that you can offer your labor force is an education in the skills that make their lives more successful. The best place to learn these skills is at work.. and within the structures of a well organized and structured team.
Here’s why… .Once your employees realize that “the machine” exists not only to produce profit, but to produce skilled, conscientious, enlightened, and self-actualized professionals, you have a labor force that recognizes cause and effect relationships between “Corporate Mandates” and their own individual need to pursue meaning and purpose in life. When you bring these together, you have power and with it an increase in loyalty, retention, high performance and profit.
The only question remains, does Corporate America have the courage to embrace this sooner… or will it be later?