We have a nightmare … and fortunately also a dream
Never have so many human beings in the developed world become physically and mentally sick simply from going to work. And never in the history of mankind have so many employee satisfaction surveys been conducted. Compensation schemes and performance management systems are engineered, tweaked and optimized without getting to the root of the issue. It’s a conundrum, as we have ample research telling us that “satisfaction” is a transactional indicator that has little to do with long-term performance on topics such as productivity and innovation. Whereas “meaningfulness” is a much more robust indicator. The time for systematic creation and measurement of meaningfulness in organizations is upon us. It’s time to wake up.
Morten Albæk, Founder & Executive Chairman of Voluntās, and Torsten Hvidt, Partner & Co-founder of QVARTZ, share much more than the professional relationship warranted by more than a decade of collaboration, projects and exchange of knowledge and ideas. You can sense this from the way Morten enters Torsten’s home without knocking and how he casually finds his way around the house. He knows where to find the secret stash of cigarettes that Torsten’s wife keeps in the back of a kitchen drawer for special occasions. There are holiday pictures in the living room with the two of them and their families together. And they kiss each other on the cheek when greeting. All signs of a true friendship. In addition to this, Morten and Torsten share a profound interest in how meaning – or the lack hereof – can make or break human beings, leadership, organizations and societies.
“A human being who gets a deep sense of meaning from the work that he or she is doing is much more productive and efficient than someone who is merely satisfied.”
“Let’s say thank you and goodbye and introduce these new, more humanistic principles. They are morally superior and will produce more innovation, more profits and significant societal benefits.”
It’s not about managing a human as a resource, it’s about leading the potential of any human who chooses to come and work for us in such a manner that his or her potential is realized and not stagnating.
I simply don’t see any arguments for old-fashioned command and control and top-down management systems. I don’t think they have a compelling future.