Perhaps the best motivator for success is the satisfaction that comes with achievement. A sense of accomplishment is an analog experience and something that can be elusive in this digital age. When we think of how we experience a sense of accomplishment, we see this reflected in advertising and other media as the pride a craftsman gets from creating a well-made piece of furniture, knitting that sweater, and so on. To capture that feeling, we often harken back to pre-industrial times, where satisfaction and accomplishment came from what we created with our hands and skills.
Finding Our Way
I use commercials a lot in my coaching because I believe they are a reflection of what is prevalent in our society or what is longed for. One of my favorites had a potent combination of images and music where a song was being sung that spoke about finding my way home. Along with it were images of a woman manning a loom, a mechanic standing at his bench, a woman in front of her tractor, a boy skateboarding, and a girl skipping rope, all meant to convey a sense of accomplishment. It was a brilliant commercial, and I believe it tapped into a deep-seated need.
Are We Repeating The Same Mistakes?
Is it possible that we are repeating the excesses of the industrial revolution in the digital era? Much of the hardship of the industrial revolution was about the move from craftsmanship to the assembly line. From a pastoral setting and pace to the hectic race to keep up with the machines. Workers, often entire families – women and children included – lived a stone's throw from the factory that owned their house, provided their food, and kept them at work often 18 hours a day! Those conditions were brought about by an idea that the worker had to keep up with what the machine could do.
Gone was the sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction that came with it. People were simply parts of the assembly line that pumped out products that they could neither appreciate nor afford.
Rise Of The Machines
Much like the industrial era, the digital revolution has created an environment where we must keep pace with the machines. What are the issues we are grappling with today? Should you turn your phone off when you are not at work? Do you have time to take a vacation? (Yes, statistics show that holidays are on the decline.) Even more alarming is that when you do take time off, you are still connected to work!
Ask someone what they do, and they will give you a job title, but few can point to a product. Is it any wonder then that we long for the experience of accomplishment and the satisfaction that comes with it? Are we any less constrained by the digital machines than we were by the iron ones?
Can Millennials Lead The Way?
Next blog, we will look at how the Millennials have come up with some solutions to this need and how we, as leaders, can help our teams tap into that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Yes, these things are not only possible but are vital components of the Hu element of organizational effectiveness. Hu centered leadership - think about it.