People of all generations are on a quest to become whole again. We are facing a malaise of being disconnected from others, the environment, our world and ourselves. Many of us have been told that we are two people; professional self and personal self and that we need to balance the myth of work and life. In the business world, we have separated and fragmented even further into departments, employee resource groups, internal and external stakeholders and so much more. One of the drivers of this fragmentation is fear. Fear is alive and well in the halls of business and in the day-to-day realities of every day people.
We have also written new rules for our societies and businesses where we accept anything as rational and logical as real and we value process and structure. In the last 200 years, emotions have been barred from most business situations and that is still the case in many instances. Feelings have been barred or have been called out as "soft" skills. Our business environment does have one dominant emotion that is allowed to enter and has spread widely and that is fear.
Our conditioning and daily conventions have made us focused on goals, metrics and the destination of where we are headed. Office buildings are filled with posters that share that mission widely. The only change that has taken place in the last 30 years in business is that the pace of change has accelerated and companies can no longer be safe within their five-year strategic planning cycles. Letting go has been a struggle, as people want to manage change and have control over the direction they are headed. Many senior executives are realizing that the days of hierarchical structures are coming to an end and recognize that communities are becoming increasingly important to get work done. But most don't know how to build communities or are too scared to let go of control.
Picking Ourselves to LIFEwork
The biggest shift that is happening today is a greater of awakening of people of all ages. More and more people are saying yes to life, choosing to follow a purpose rather than a career path that is dictated to them. There is increasing courage replacing fear to see what is possible to co-create a more humane world. Many people are yearning to belong again and live lives that truly matter instead of following someone else's success criteria. The B Corp movement is a great example of seeing business as a force of good and not forcing an organization to decided whether it is a for profit or non-profit as it does not matter. In the future, we will see Corporate Social Responsibility departments vanish as organizations will simply do good as part of their business fabric without needing to delegate it to a function.
Relationships and trust will become key to our world as we will create more harmony and unity between others, the environment, our world and ourselves. More people will practice their art and have a life where work will be just part of the equation as we will care deeply about all living creatures.
It is time to ask ourselves, what purpose does fear, worry and doubt serve us, and what's on the other side? Every single 21st century leader I have talked to for our book, Our Journey to Business Common Sense has shared with me their incredible story of hope and courage of the world they are co-creating. As chapter 5 of the book is called: It's Time to Bring the Team Back Together, it is time for us to become whole once again. This fall, shed what no longer serves you; just like the trees around us. The 21st century leader does not always have the answers but she knows how to bring herself and others to see possibilities for the world and herself. As Albert Einstein said: "Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better."