The following post is from Peter Metzner. Through seminars and consulting, Peter helps leaders, teams and organizations better engage and align staff to business drivers and their overall mission. He is sharing his presentation Innovate or Stagnate: Leadership Skills for Today at the 2015 HR Management Conference on March 4 and March 5 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.
I once heard at a Symposium that: “Genius is focused passion”.
To grow, to develop and become the best at your “art” is a meaningful calling or vocation. Joseph Campbell writes: “Art is the making of things well. The aim of Art is the perfection of the object”.
He also writes: “if you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss money or not. If you follow money you may lose it and you will have nothing” (J. Campbell Reflections on the Art of Living” p. 39)
Ideally, to successfully innovate; we need to feel passionate about and love what we do. We also need to feel our work – our “art” is beneficial to others. That is the rocket fuel that can propel us to new heights.
What keeps teams or individuals from performing optimally?
Sadly only 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup. For many, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in many ways, it’s getting worse. Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. “Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night”. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/opinion/sunday/why-you-hate-work.)
To maintain engagement it is important to have enough rest and renewal to be productive. Over- work, stress and a lack of capacity leads to burnout. Interpersonal conflict, unaware leadership and not feeling valued or appreciated add to the malaise that cause disengagement, lack of commitment and turnover.
When individuals and teams feel connected to a shared vision and mission that is inspiring and larger than themselves, positive energy and action is released. When relationships are trusting and safe enough to give and receive feedback and engage in constructive conflict; everyone becomes “smarter” than anyone one. With trust, along with collaborative working relationships; individuals and teams have a greater sense of autonomy, input and buy in to their activities. Harvard psychologist Kurt Lewin PhD, writes: “When we are in a supportive environment we are much better equipped to deal with the complexities of our working lives”
As times change; technology advances and new applications and markets will emerge. Yet we need to always keep the timeless qualities that made us successful in the first place. Excitement, energy, common purpose and dedication come from feeling that we are doing what we do best, being challenged to be better in the service of something larger than ourselves. A real and often forgotten challenge to keeping engagement and passion alive is not only to encourage but to ensure that the work-life balance of staff is maintained.
“When we are completely caught up in something, you become oblivious to the things around you, or to the passage of time. It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imaginations”. Rollo May, The Courage to Create
This is the place where synchronicities and “magic” happen.
In addition to innovation through engagement, the 2015 HR Management Conference will feature presentations on making technology choices, insights on the future of work, strengthening organizational performance and more. Visit www.capital.org/hrconf to view the complete agenda and read more about conference speakers. Register today!