what if the Basic Premise is Wrong?
How would you know if the basic premise of something is wrong? We face injustices daily, but what would you say if I told you that the largest one is hidden in plain sight? It affects you daily.
I want to start by talking about work.
Universities produce brilliant business scholars. Their curriculum is based on “current best methods” of achieving certain business goals. The coursework advances as we redefine what is current. And these graduates are amazing at what they do.
So why do you dread going to work? How come employee turnover is one of the hottest topics today? Why would we accept that people just burn-out? Where did the term “good work-life balance” come from? How come politics, infighting, sabotage, and silos are a way of life? What is the source of gender, race, and age discrimination? Why does everything come to a boil when that once-every-two-years promotion is handed out to one person among a team of ten? How come your co-worker spaces out for hours at a time? I could keep going.
Let us circle back to business methods. A “best method,” by its very definition, implies that there is a set of common sense rules that allow [most] everyone to agree it is the best. Playing by these rules is required – the non-MBA could never legitimately question a business decision by an MBA holder.
These best business methods are implemented as best practices – no manager would use 20 year old methods as their best practice. These are inflicted on people in a workplace in the form of processes. The people that follow these processes are usually confined to little boxes on an organization chart, usually in the shape of a pyramid.
If we have best practices, why are there increasingly so many human problems?
People Make Mistakes
For the best practices to be effective, they demand no mistakes. Any error reduces what the process can achieve. After all, nobody would see a 15% slack next to their co-worker’s name on a Gantt chart, because “Joe needs 15% longer to complete a task because we have quantified his rate of mistakes.”
The typical pyramid ensures that people are “interchangeable parts” in their boxes. Too many mistakes, and the defective “part” is replaced. But there is a problem here.
People are not parts.
People make mistakes. But we legally cannot account for this – we almost expect people to hide their mistakes before anyone else notices.
Because of this, best practices continue to evolve in a way that reduces our humanity. Our boxes demand machine-like precision, and sometimes the box is even replaced by a machine. (And occasionally, the machine is treated better by management than the people it replaced.)
This is your daily injustice; your performance is constantly compared to a fictional ideal.
So is it any wonder that we dread going to work? There is an unresolvable tension here. The system does not match how people naturally function. And our best practices are going in the wrong direction. People are not machines.
But the Goal has Been Admirable?
The mission statements of most companies, whether they even vaguely resemble what those companies do, typically reflect a goal of making your life better in some way. If they said anything else, they probably would be without customers.
The best business methods have one overarching goal – grow a business by acquiring customers. In the ideal world, this growth continues unchecked.
In humans, we would describe such a growth system as cancer. Every living system that can pursue exponential growth until it consumes its natural resources, as businesses strive to achieve, ends up mostly dead.
There have been undeniable benefits from business as we have it today.
But the methods are increasingly wrong for employee sanity. And the goal may kill us.
Teal organizations resolve these problems by transcending them.
Happiness and Empowerment
To paraphrase Clemens (Mark Twain), the best swordsman in the world does not fear the number two swordsman – he fears someone who has never swung a sword. Swordsman play by common sense rules, much like business methods. And these two at the top are wielding MBAs with business common sense.
Shift Sight is not bound by such rules.
A Teal workplace conforms to how people naturally function and has no unresolvable problem. People feel happy coming to work and moving toward a meaningful goal. According to studies and results from Teal organizations, people that are able to make mistakes freely produce a resilient, creative, amazing company.
It is not that we condone mistakes; it is simply that they are a fundamental part of humanity and the creative process. To pretend that people are infallible is corporate suicide. Teal creates people that lead and transform their communities.
I am unashamed of making a mistake publicly. I am human. I am not a machine. I will even ask for your opinion of my mistake so I may give us both a better outcome. Your judgment of my mistake is a reflection of what you are feeling; it has very little to do with me. This is why we try extra hard not to make a mistake if the boss is already angry.
Shift Sight also sees an indescribable value to empowering women and minorities in the workplace. This empowerment is in terms of salary and capability. Teal requires complete transparency. Conventional best practices demand hidden salaries and the corresponding pay gaps are stowed away.
Current organizations are scrambling to prove they are diverse, both in terms of gender and race. This scramble is an “ends,” not a “means.” Further, there is a force at work that has prevented this equality from the start. Start Teal, and start with a clean, transparent slate.
Although Shift Sight is not hiring until Phase III, I wanted to share this post with you. Please support us today in Phase II so that Shift Sight can set the bar for fair pay, empowered employees, and meaningful work. Work meant for humans, not machines.
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.