(Kevin Monroe — Higher Purpose Podcast with Renee Smith)
I had a really pleasant surprise when I did a Google search for the human workplace and a higher purpose. The first thing to pop up — right there in first position at the top of the Google search, was Kevin Monroe’s podcastwith the amazing Renee Smith.
This podcast interview is really a beautiful work of art because it’s about how Renee is transforming a government environment into a place of love and connection.
Renee Smith is the Director of Workplace Transformation at the Governor’s Results Washington Office. She is also the founder of a Human Workplace —where she talks about the high cost of fear, and replacing it with the deep impact of love.
From her site — a Human Workplace:
“After all, we are people, working with people, serving people. We are not cogs or machines or objects or even resources. We are human. And we humans are at our best when we are psychologically safe. This basic acceptance, respect, and sense of belonging is a state of love, one of two primary human emotional conditions. The other is fear, which brings on rejection, indifference, alienation, worry, withdrawal, anger, uncertainty.
When we feel loved, cared for, and respected, we settle in. We feel safe, committed, and at ease to be ourselves. And then we humans do incredible things…”
Renee is not just bringing love into workplace, but into government — the most stereotypically bureaucratic kind of workplace! Her work focuses on how environments affect our well being, and how harmful it is not to treat employees as humans. A good example is feeling isolated during a personal crisis. All this extra stress is carried over to other environments, and especially the home.
Kevin summarized by saying: normalizing love has to be essential to workplace, pumping the fear out to facilitate love, and making work more human.
Renee pointed out that research shows this is central to our reality — but how do we make it real? She talks about the need to embrace the idea and figure it out. The need to show up as a human being and treat others like humans — but what does it look like in action?
Kevin: Operationalizing love in the workplace — this conversation really needs to continue.
My research into the Human Workplace also brought me to another incredible group of people on the other side of the Atlantic. Sharon Green and Nick McCulloch are the founders of The Human Workplace Manifesto.
Please check out their web site because it is truly one of the most uplifting sites in the world. I love the way we share the same approach that this is really much bigger than changing how we do business …
“ESSENTIALLY THE HUMAN WORKPLACE MANIFESTO IS JUST ABOUT BEING HUMAN AND GIVING A DAMN.”
I was actually going to talk about ‘building a human workplace manifesto’ in our 2020 Summit live stream, until I came across this stunning presentation (PDF) of their manifesto. One of the most beautiful presentations you will ever see in the business world. Their motto is >> let’s change the world of work for good!
More nuggets from the manifesto:
“EMPLOYEES WHO EXPERIENCE A HIGHER LEVEL OF HUMANITY AT WORK PERFORM BETTER AND ARE LESS LIKELY TO QUIT THEIR JOBS.”
ONE THIRD OF THE EU LABOUR FORCE ARE AFFECTED BY WORK RELATED DEPRESSION & BURN-OUT COSTING €600 BILLION A YEAR
SURVEY PUBLISHED BY THE EUROPEAN AGENCY FOR SAFETY
AND HEALTH AT WORK 2012
The last section is a quote from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator:
“More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….”
And finally, another great piece of research from Harvard Business Review that is slightly less about making the workplace more human — and slightly more about making the organization more purpose-driven.
Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization— Harvard Business Review
Here are some incredible excerpts:
“Although a higher purpose does not guarantee economic benefits, we have seen impressive results in many organizations. The 5 year Gartenberg study, which included 500,000 people across 429 firms and involved 917 firm-year observations from 2006 to 2011 — suggests a positive impact on both operating financial performance (return on assets) and forward-looking measures of performance (Tobin’s Q and stock returns) when the purpose is communicated with clarity.
So purpose is not just a lofty ideal; it has practical implications for your company’s financial health and competitiveness. People who find meaning in their work don’t hoard their energy and dedication. They give them freely, defying conventional economic assumptions about self-interest. They grow rather than stagnate. They do more — and they do it better.
By tapping into that power, you can transform an entire organization.”
More excerpts about how purpose sets the tone –
“…. align the organization with an authentic higher purpose that intersects with your business interests and helps guide your decisions.”
“…. when an authentic purpose permeates business strategy and decision making, the personal good and the collective good become one. Positive peer pressure kicks in, and employees are reenergized. Collaboration increases, learning accelerates, and performance climbs.”
“…. When a leader communicates the purpose with authenticity and constancy, employees recognize his or her commitment, begin to believe in the purpose themselves, and reorient. The change is signaled from the top, and then it unfolds from the bottom.”