I have been devoting big, no huge, chunks of my time over the last six weeks researching and writing my new book, The Can Do Workplace. I have thoroughly enjoyed my dozen-plus interviews with Can Do minded folks from around the world. The outline is almost “there,” and the introduction and chapter three are both final drafts. Writing a book is a marathon, not just a race and I am still quite far from the magic moment of loading the manuscript onto its first stop, the Kindle e-bookstore shelf. My plan is to hit the PUBLISH button the week of Thanksgiving.
Recently I have been feeling a bit itchy because I really miss the feeling of accomplishment that comes from meeting concrete goals and getting some immediate gratification. Then last night I had an idea to help scratch the itch! I decided to begin to offer “sneak peeks” of the book’s contents on my social media platforms. First thing this morning I made a couple of notes, and then tucked them away planning to return to them after I finished the projects that were due today for my paying clients. (FYI: both deadline-driven documents were delivered before I started working on this blog!)
This afternoon, just after my favorite client from Atlanta called to postpone our meeting, a friend of mine posted an Opinion piece on Facebook, titled Why You Hate Work from the May 30th edition of the New York Times, and it moved me into action. The authors do an excellent job of describing the challenges and problems I have been identifying about workplace culture in the book, and of articulating and supporting why I believe that building and sustaining Can Do Workplaces is a pressing need that is critical to our economic future.
…just 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup. Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent. For most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious ways, it’s getting worse.
Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night.
(The research shows that) employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, it turns out, when four of their core needs are met: 1) physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work; 2) emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; 3) mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and 4) spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work. The more effectively leaders and organizations support employees in meeting these core needs, the more likely the employees are to experience engagement, loyalty, job satisfaction and positive energy at work, and the lower their perceived levels of stress.
These issues seem, as my undergrad statistics professor used to say, “intuitively obvious.” So, you might ask: why do I need to write the book when the NYT and Gallup have done such a great job defining the problem and articulating the solution? Enter the Can Do Model of Change & Growth, with strategies that help motivate and move people to go from CAN and get them to DO. The challenge is not in defining the problem, it is in designing and implementing ways to move organizations, filled with people who are highly resistant, to make significant changes in how they organize and conduct business. That’s where the book’s outline that I (well, almost) finished this weekend comes to life.
Change & Growth happens in that tricky and remarkable space between CAN & DO!