The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves*
The basis for human optimism is basically sheer terror. To advance our lives, out culture and society we all need to get up and into life affirming projects. But the tyranny of time and tight schedules are often a big issue for many, especially in these difficult and constantly variable economic times. Fear of unemployment in the city and country is literally driving many into the ground, both health and well-being wise. This is an ever expanding issue.
Today by the time workers, at any level of the work environment return to the family fold, or seek shelter from the storms of life after work to make a meal, to share it, or enjoy it solo, it is getting to a point where relaxation is the most desirable action they can take. They often feel as if they are in a revolving door that never stops. That just makes getting off the couch and into after work hours social profit action far more difficult. They also need to converse and communicate with those they share their lives with. If they don’t their relationships can, and will suffer. Creativity also suffers too, because everyone needs some to think before they act. We all need some precious time to refresh the spirit.
Realistically today in the workplace those working, or running small boutique style businesses are often the worse off. They usually have a day that runs from 7am – 7pm. They often end up having to take work home at night and on weekends to fulfill unrealistic and the often unreasonable expectations of clients. Some of this is about the bosses, who were themselves originally workers with a great idea. They went out and started a company to achieve their goals. In so doing they become Directors, CEO’s and part of the management from day one. That meant everyone’s expectations, including their own, of who they were, what they are on about and, more importantly what they could achieve in a very short time were very high.
Now that is all fine if you have a basis in theory, some experience, lots of empathy and a proven ability to manage yourself and others.
To really succeed in the long term however, they must also be sure not to spend time star gazing or worrying about celebrity status and make a considered commitment to the wellbeing of the people who support them in the workplace.
To achieve this they need to listen, endeavour to understand and produce time schedules that work. They also need to ensure managers do not give clients unrealistic expectations about timing. Otherwise they will end up losing clients and important staff with the necessary skills that aid their cause.
Then there is those who have gone straight into management from university. They have masses of theory but are often without experience of putting it into practice at the coal face. They need to be in a large corporation where there is plenty of people around to provide a buffer, so that given time they will gain the experience and impetus necessary to progress. If not it can be disastrous.
All of this is very scary stuff for everyone and idt happens at each and every generational change. And the last one was not that long ago in terms of our social and cultural development. However the one we are currently in is the biggest in a hundred years. It is all about talking with each other and taking stock of great expectations for all parties. Before we act we need to ensure that everyone can remain optimistic and continue to enjoy the loyalty and admiration of those who surround them. It’s the same at work as it is in private life.
So what will happen in the future if the ‘ordinary citizen’ is no longer able to contribute to building social capital in communities. The answer lies with the organizations they work for. It must take on the responsibility just like all parents take on with children. They have to help their new age families who support them.
All the big successful corporations know this. It is not about how big a company is. It is also about the attitude of those at the top; about conversation, communication, planning and interacting well so that everyone can become better employees, and employers.
The RSA at London for over 250 years has been a cradle for enlightened thinking and a force for social progress. It is an excellent organization with a motivating publication and an excellent website that provides information about the many enlightening projects they are involved in.
It is a source of ideas, innovation and civic enterprise, which they put to work for the common good. It has a ‘council of fellows’ whose constant aim is to strengthen the relationship between their staff and their fellows so that they can create and collaborate together.
To paraphrase the RSA at London – nudge your networks and help turn talk into action. Join a social profit organisation today and do your bit to help society continue to advance by creating a domino effect.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2010 – 2012
*Oscar Wilde 1891