Ok, hold with the cynical laughter. We all know in how many ways that can sound like a stupid question. So please bear with me. If it isn’t intelligent, where is its stupidity located? If it were to become intelligent, where would that happen? If you think that’s about your boss, or your most irritating colleague, I would like to take a deeper look.
As we start a new year, many leaders will have reflected on how to best influence their work culture. One which relies less on them exercising traditional ‘power over’ leadership and shifts towards team empowerment. One where people feel able to innovate, experiment and take appropriate risks. One which retains and attracts the best people or, in my language, a culture with a high ‘We-Q’.
Why is it that the huge increase in money thrown at ‘Happiness at Work’ initiatives over recent years has not stopped employee engagement scores sliding to an historical and shocking low of 13% worldwide? (Gallup 2016) Why are we so unhappy, and what can be done about it?
As founder of We-Q, the Collaborative Intelligence App, I had the pleasure of spending time with Frederic Laloux, author of ‘Reinventing Organisations’, and one of the world’s most influential contributors to the study of healthy and effective organisations. Together we went on a deep dive into the ills and possibilities of contemporary work life.
“ Happiness is a transitory possibility to evoke, which seems radical given the levels of suffering in organisational life today.” Frederic Laloux
Fredric Laloux talks of the need to restore “our birthright” of deep human connection back into the contemporary workplace. The exclusive interview is embedded in this blog and is free to listen to. What then follows is a description of the key themes, their relevance to the contemporary workplace, and their link to the effectiveness of We-Q.
More and more high-achieving, sensitive people I know are burning out. They are suffering a combination of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, poor relationships and ill health. It’s very painful to hear their stories. These feelings are a healthy and appropriate response to a system out of balance. Our deeper selves are telling us to “Change course”. Yes, but in what direction and how can we keep things going whilst we change?
Mother Teresa has this week become a saint. A saint of Selflessness. At the same time, in the US, we have the Saint of Selfishness, Donald Trump with his red ties and bellicose divisive style. In echoes of Gordon Gekko, Donald once proudly declared; “You can never be too greedy”
Saint Teresa and Donald Trump represent the opposites ends of the Selfless/Selfish dichotomy. All of us grapple between the two, trying to balance what’s best for us and the needs of others.
In this blog, I suggest that we are trapped in this dichotomy, that it causes enormous distress, and that there is a way out.