“Billions of people show up for work every day, but way too many of them are sleep-walking.”     

Gary Hamel – Leading The Revolution

What a tragedy if so many people spend so much of their lives at work half asleep or going through the motions, looking forward to 5 pm, the weekend, the next holiday or even retirement.  Yet this is how many people live their lives.  What is worse is that this is seen as normal, as being “how life is”,  “as good as it gets”.  It need not be so.  We have so much scope to create vibrant, live organisations with vibrant, alive people who passionately enjoy what they are doing.

How would your organisation fare?

I wonder how your organisation would fare if people took the Towers Watson survey that Gary Hamel talks of in his book?   How many in your organisation would agree with the following statements?

  1. I really care about the future of my organisation.
  2. I am really proud to tell others I work for my organisation.
  3. My job provides me with a sense of personal accomplishment.
  4. I would recommend my organisation to a friend as a good place to work.
  5. My organisation inspires me to do my best.
  6. I understand how my unit/department contributes to the success of the organisation.
  7. I understand how my role in the organisation is related to my organisation’s overall goals, objectives and direction.
  8. I am willing to put in a great deal of effort beyond what is normally expected to help my organisation succeed.
  9. I am personally motivated to help my organisation succeed.
  10. I can personally identify with the values and goals of the organisation and see an alignment between them and the rest of my life and personal goals.

Are you happy with your answers?

Designing work differently – to how human beings really are

Gary Hamel says that only 14% of people around the world are highly engaged with their work and 24% are disengaged.  If this is true or even half true, it means there are a lot of people at work who don’t want to be there, aren’t happy when they are at work and so must be making a relatively poor contribution to their companies.     Hamel says that 85% of those at work are giving less of themselves than they could.

This is so because we don’t design work to fit with how human beings really are.  We try to twist and distort and bend human beings to fit with the model of the organisation instead of shaping our organisation around how people really are.

Most important human factors in high performance

Hamel says that the challenge is to reinvent our management systems so they inspire human beings to bring all of their capabilities to work every day and he came up with a table of the most important human factors in high performance:

  • Passion 35%
  • Creativity 25%
  • Initiative 20%
  • Intellect 15%
  • Diligence 5%
  • Obedience 0%

While you may not agree with this table of priorities, I bet you can see that the top ones were present in moments when you performed really well.  This is certainly true in my own case.

What are the priorities in your company, in your area?