Why We Must Trade-In Old-Fashioned Security for Growth
How many of us are conscious enough to be excited about trading in a sense of old-fashioned security for perpetual growth? Most of us need to be educated to even realize what the opportunity means on a personal level. For the vast majority, real change is a frightening prospect. For example, when we began our programs in 1990, most of our participants were pursuing one big professional change. After making that transition, many would tell me, “I’m glad that is over.” But it wasn’t over. The world just became faster and faster until now, when many people are too confused to even define what it is that they want. Now, imagine how much the national workplace will improve if we develop a thirst for learning and growth within ourselves and throughout our organizations.
It will require us to reinvent, learn, unlearn, and relearn in shorter periods of time. When we ask or order our employees to “snap out of it” or “get used to it,” how can most of them comprehend how to do that? Yet many leaders continue to display the “do it or else” tactic in a world in which talent pools are filled with experts in going through the motions. Similarly, this idea that people should somehow be skilled at continuous personal change is equally far-fetched. This is why organizations, realistically, must develop their workers to not only understand change, but to learn how to change themselves continuously.
Bestselling tech journalist Kevin Kelly talks about how the rate of change has increased to the point where we are no longer moving towards a set goal. Instead, we are in a constant state of “becoming.” It would seem that having a clear sense of mission, vision, and purpose is optional in such a state. Instead, much of the American workforce settles into mindless frenzy. And yet, this workforce is headed towards greater underemployment, the real scourge of our economy. The most valuable state of “becoming” is to be grounded with clear personalized mission, vision, and purpose, which becomes the keel that keeps the boat upright throughout the storms of change.
To the surface mind, this sounds stressful. But to those of us who want to grow, who want to learn, who want to see how far we can develop our lives, these are exciting times indeed. As a boater, I can testify that getting a sailboat through a storm can be a life-changing experience. Some will get sea sick, but the ones that experience growth will ask, “How quickly can we do it again?”
For organizations, this is why it is such an important time to develop mentors out of the very people who’ve adopted the skills to change, reinvent, and engage. There are many fortunate individuals who’ve realized there was no alternative but to dive into self-inquiry, developing new life skills, and continual learning. The first breakthrough was not drowning. The second was experiencing the life altering benefits of using the waves in front of us as an opportunity to grow into new, stronger, more exciting, more interesting, and more valuable workers.
Success within this adventure requires a democratic solution, which means everyone is responsible. We can make a case to business that the moral thing to do is to help every worker come along for the ride. History has proven we need to meld morality and profit-making for real commitment. So, let’s take a closer look at the math:
- 87% of the world’s workers are disengaged
- 48% of American workers characterize themselves as underemployed
With numbers like that, are we going to recruit enough workers to build an engaged culture?
I assert the only way we can get there is to build changed and engaged workers. Returning to a democratic and fully responsible theme, if you get this message, don’t wait for your employer to help you. The future is a finish line moving towards us so quickly that it is time to wake-up indeed.
Learn how to change. Learn how to grow. Learn how to let go. Learn how to surf.
Life is good.
(C) Copyright, 2017, David Harder – (All Rights Reserved)
Buy a copy of David’s new book The Workplace Engagement Solution here.