Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Hacking love

 

   I posted earlier about the hackathon I’m participating in at the MIX.

We’re now developing a small number of hacks focusing on developing communities of passion and I’m participating in one on the need to create more love in the workplace (together with Lisa Haneberg and KC Ramsay).

I think this is another agenda that’s missing from Enterprise 2.0, HR and other conferences.  Yes, the use of tools, technologies and management approaches all help to create effective working relationships within an organisation (and don’t get me wrong, that’s a great start!), but there’s still a need for more – if organisations are really going to act to their full potential (rather than groups of individuals going their own ways, and acting against each other as much as they to for each other, and therefore for the organisation as a whole).

I’m not sure what we’re going to come up with, and I’m aware that for many organisations, love may be a step too far to take (although at the same time, I don’t think this has anything to do with current stage of development etc, and everything to do with ambition and willingness to take a risk).

So there are a couple of hacks being developed which I think will be really useful too.

So for example, Josh Allan Dykstra is working with a small team (I think team is the right term here, rather than community) of people to develop a hack looking at building a strengths based environment.  I think there’s a good overlap with love here, though with the use of rather softer language, and perhaps less, though possibly rather more achievable, ambition?

Josh notes:

“A strengths-based culture does encourage (and help people) to love each other for who they are. But it goes further than that, because it also helps people love THEMSELVES for who they are -- while at the same time providing an architecture to help SUPPORT them in the kind of work they are most passionate about.”

 

And Deborah Mills Schofield’s team is focusing on applying the classic virtues (courage, temperance, prudence, justice, faith, hope – and love too) to specific tasks or projects within a community of passion.

Deborah notes:

“the virtue of ‘love’ can be applied to really understanding customer needs - a passion for really meeting the unmet/unarticulated needs by living their world, understanding their challenges & obstacles etc so you can create a really meaningful solution.  'Love’ for employees can result in creating career development paths, training & education, health & wellness, etc. options for an energizing and meaningful workplace and work.”

 

(I hope Josh and Deborah don’t mind me copying their comments from a semi-public and into a fully public place – do let me know if you do!).

 

I really like these ideas, and agree with Josh’s point on the need for people to love themselves before they can love each other at work – ie an organisation needs to be human (treating people as people) before it can be social (focused on relationships) – a point I made again just last week.  (My write-up on Visa Europe refers to one of the best examples I know of on this.)

And I really like the idea of applying the classic virtues at work.  I’ve never been a fan of traditional organisational values.  I accept they can sometimes be very motivational and impactful, but suspect that in the majority of cases they are seen as corporate and manipulative – as well as often inauthentic and, as Deborah says, nebulous.  They’re also not part of the language of people we need to move towards.

I also think Deborah’s focus on specific tasks or projects provides a good point to start this sort of journey, through I worry slightly that the desire to ‘take as much of the personality / emotion out of it’ will reduce the impact of what can be achieved.

I’d like to see organisations incorporating the classic virtues – including love - as a central focus within their whole people management architecture eg within performance management for example.  Not for assessment and particularly not for compensation, but just to ensure the organisation (formal and informal) is actually paying interest to how human someone really is at work.

 

These and other hacks will be appearing on the MIX shortly – look out for them there.

 

 

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