Alliterations aid accentuation.
Except in this case these 3 words are the most important ones for me this year and – I believe – for those interested in creating a better working lot for all of us and those to come. Connect: Create: Change
Doing a good job? Fantastic. It’s great that people lean in, have their heart in their work and make good things happen.
Wanting to change the world? Good luck, there’s plenty out there who’ll look at you like a romantic idealist and persuade you that it’s just not worth it. The world is how it is and as long as we look after our own bubble – however big or small that may be and whatever the number of other animate objects are in that bubble – that’s all we can hope for. That’s what a lot of people will say to you.
Yet is it that polar opposite and nothing in between? Or can one person’s endeavours in doing their job be dialled up just a tiny bit more to aggregate into some huge change to improve the way the world of work is?
My mission this year isn’t the purpose of this post: yet I feel that by sharing it, I’ll be more compelled to achieve it with your collective belief or scepticism about it.
I want to connect to the disparate efforts of workplace change “activists” and folks doing normal jobs clueless about the subterranean movements across the world: To make a difference to the way we approach and do work, so we all get more from it for our souls not our bank balances.
You can roll your eyes all you like about words like “disruption” “rebels” and other terms but it’s time to stop circling around our own ideals and (unlike in Ghostbusters) cross the streams. Bring your version of change and new shapes and forms of work with this group over here; that gang who hang out there; that company who is keen to take steps to radicalise their ways of working, that angry practitioner over there and so on and so forth.
Until we all have some form of converged effort then the mediocre and predictable masses lumbering on like they always have will easily be able to dismiss these fringe agitators as, well, self-serving freedom fighters who have no desire to really effect change. Enjoying their own rebellion, why would they want that to be the new norm? That’s selling out surely?
Come on though; let’s look at some of the undeniable traits and facts of modern life.
Dissatisfaction with the work proposition (call them what you like but only a third of people who can report “being engaged” is a sad state of affairs on something – work – that occupies a MASSIVE part of our lives).
Unequal distribution of wealth and power. This is not some leftist ideal yet soon, the richest 1% will have acquired more wealth than the 99% put together. If history teaches us nothing else, it’s that this level of power accumulation is not in the interests of the human race of the planet. Checks and balances people.
Education standards. We have – what appears to be – a Victorian, sign-of-the-zodiac model of teaching peppered with slightly misdirected efforts to modernise, regulate and measure. Sure some people are very successful in the current model you might say. Some. If I were marking this, I’d give it a C-. We need A* ‘s across the board. Not good enough. See me after armageddon.
We’ve so much human potential to tap up that appears lost what the fuck are we doing about it? Why isn’t education THE most invested thing in the entire planet and a shared resource across the world in a way that brings out innovation, decreases conflict and war and puts the soul back into life?
Now these are societal problems so what can a Human Resources Professional do about this?
Well for starts, I am a human being and citizen of the Planet. That allows me to be a part of the argument, solution and undoubtedly part of the problem too. I want to do something about it mind.
I am also someone interested in the human spirit and what makes life such a joy to be a part of. These things above are joyful for only a few of the 6 billion people on the planet. We’re not born into the world with limited potential. We’re born to make a difference.
I am off the scale in wanting to improve what work is all about for people. We should not rest until we have a way to ensure the right things happen around the work “proposition” for all and adds to the benefit of others, the planet and their own sense of worth. Work – as we’ve made it – is a key part in our identity; sense of meaning and contribution to the biggest schema of life itself.
So I have every right to give a shit about the problems we have all over the world and want to do something about them. My focal point is work; yet I see that impacting on so many others things I see it as concentric rings of change.
OK, this connecting; creating and changing thing then. What’s that all about? A bit more rhetoric to justify my “place” in the universe? Not that much, but undeniably a part of my mission in life; my script of existence and my legacy for others.
I love the thought of what I do for a living having a higher sense of purpose. Yet that alone is a lone voice in a large choral burst unlikely to be heard enough to have others hear the song of change and want to be part of it. If the prevailing rhythm is one of “same beat” we’ll all just shuffle along to the tune and never break a sweat or sway elegantly to a different tempo.
So, my voice needs to join with that of others. In shouting out the call for different, improvements, active change, movement towards better.
Yes you may belong to the Brighouse & Raistrick Movement against Propaganda comms which is great. Yet you stand a better chance of seeing the changes in others you see as so critical for the greater good of all, if you join in with theWest Knowleshire L&D Hackers and the Be a Good Rebel Today social media group.
Aggregated efforts. Accumulated Marginal Gains (thanks to 2 Scots who gave me that phrase to muill on last year). Compelling calls to action.
We do this when we join in.
Not circle in your own wake of brilliance. That’s great for you but what about the great unenlightened? Prophet in your own wilderness because “they” just don’t understand? That’s about you buddy, not “them”. No-one changed the world by talking in an empty stadium. Criticise others’ efforts to shout their proclaimations of hope? Try gently having a word about channeling that energy and making sure it’s connected to the right things. When you make people feel duff all you do is dilute your own efforts to drive that change.
So who’s with me? Well not with me. Who’s with each other? Come on.
Becoming an activist isn’t just being trendy, and if these groups don’t grow, then all they are is self-affirming choirs singing to each other.
Remember though, sometimes standing out and being different is hard and people like this need support of others to keep their mojo up in the face of the deniers and dismissers.
So if you belong to one or more “new radical” group; connect them to each other. If you don’t belong to any, find some or set up your own community of passion/practice. Use whatever means you can to join people and thinking. Help others who don’t belong to any think tanks; change committees; whatever to become more active. If they don’t give a shit, you can leave them to it. There’s plenty I am sure will join in. Others will eventually or when there’s no choice. Remember the law of diffusion of innovation.
As the quite outstanding and marvellous Frederic Laloux says “there’s something in the air”.
I want to breathe it in collectively – with differences – but with a joined up spirit that says “there’s better; here’s better; have better”.