There is a new call going out across the nation – we can see it everywhere we look. There are changes being made with historical consequences at all levels of our society, not all of them with a promise of an easy and successful conclusion. Driving this discomfort of change is the dissatisfaction we feel with the situations in our lives that in the past may have felt beyond our control. We are living in a time when the mood and spirit of the moment is gaining strength and courage, tipping the scales balanced by the comfort of apathy and resignation. We may not be certain of what lies ahead, but ahead we go with the demand and expectation to make a better life out of our circumstances.
We may ask the question – what would Green values and practices look like in a business environment, but the truth is, while some of us have been busy saving the forests, the oceans, the animals, and our air quality; all of us have been longing for a greater freedom and joy in the way we earn a living. We have been concerned about recycling and indoor air quality, but what we can no longer live without is a workplace that honors humanitarian values. And these desires and longings are changing the way we do business with each other. The invention of new practices offering a far more powerful way to function at work, are upsetting a very old paradigm of fear and control. The conventional practices of top down command and control are being replaced with choice, collaboration, and accountability.
People are no longer content with merely putting in time and taking home a check. The amount of time we spend at work has grown, and so has the desire for our time at work to be more meaningful. Employees want a greater sense of freedom in how they spend their time at work.
They want an experience of ownership for the work they perform. They want more voice and responsibility that elevates their role from being told what to do, to actually thinking for themselves. Employees want to be heard in completely new ways, ways that have them feeling important, that they can be counted on, and that what they are doing is making a difference. They want to feel like they are being a part of something that matters – that what they are doing is important in some way to their own lives and their community.
All of this really makes sense when you look at it from a perspective of there are usually many employees, one owner, and a few managers. If the background thinking is control to produce results, then this ratio makes sense. If people are trusted and allowed to think for themselves, it is now a system that impedes production.
Why is letting go and trusting so hard for business owners? What is it that is working against this type of thinking? If this is really a win-win for all involved, why is it so often misunderstood?