exploring possibilities for an engaging and productive workplace

Are Organizations Human?

Monday, January 17, 2011

I believe that organization's are fundamentally human. The workplace is made up of people providing goods and services for other people. 

Yet the the words I more readily associate with organizations are profit, growth, costs, competition, viability, performance, etc... While these words are important, it's not what I'm interested in today.

What fascinates me is the seeming loss of humanity in business. As I write, I'm reminded of common sayings about work:

"Check your emotions at the door"

"Business is cut-throat"

"Same shit, different day"

"Every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence"

At their core, humans are empathetic and vulnerable beings seeking connections. Yet the organizations we create and serve appear to be the exact opposite. Emotionless machines disconnected from nature.

I'll admit, these are unfair statements. There are a lot of businesses that take great care of their people, their communities and more. My concern lies in the general talk and conversation I might hear while walking down the street or perusing the Internet.

One of my hopes and dreams is for organizations to be perceived by their more human characteristics. What might be achieved locally, nationally, or internationally when this shift occurs? How might you view your boss, your employees, your co-workers?

What would organizations look like if they were empathetic, vulnerable, and connected? Please share your thoughts or stories in the comments.

PS. You might find these videos interesting: