Following the discussion of what constitutes human essence-based management in Part 1, this piece will explore the link between new management and prosperity. To start off with another Peter Drucker’s lesson, social relevance comes first and the goal of every organization lies outside itself. If we hold Drucker’s words as ground zero, how relevant are current business practices to the society? Does acting on reason actually make for a good reason?
With business and society merging, it is important for managers to go beyond numbers into rich, deep, and substantive understanding of society and its needs. “Aside from basic survival, the pursuit of happiness is arguably one of the most fundamental concerns of every human being on the planet.” If happiness is what society ultimately striving for, how can a leader tap into that insight? Firstly, it is important to clarify what happiness is. According to the research, 50% of our happiness is determined by genes. The surprising part is that only 10% of our happiness comes from external circumstances. The products we buy, our financial resources, looks, environment where we live – all these things determine just 10% of ongoing level of happiness. Most importantly, the remaining 40% of happiness comes from our intentional activity: what we do and how we think. This percentage, which is in our control, is tied to living one’s authentic aspirations and sharing them with others.
In the economy of yesterday managers could only focus on the 10% – financial drivers and consumerism – and produce thriving organizations. Intellect and reason were enough to sustain and grow businesses. This is no longer the case. Nowadays, business, social, and global landscapes are seamlessly and complexly interconnected, and managers start paying attention to the most important source of society’s happiness: authentic self-expression and alignment. These deeper buried 40% of happiness become hardly accessible to an outward-looking intellect and it alone is unable to provide sustainable, considerate, and successful results. Intuition, on the other hand, speaks directly to the inner source of happiness as its center of gravity is authenticity and essence of life. Thus, in order to prosper and welcome a more sustainable and brighter future, modern business leaders need to recognize the language and core of human life and match them in the way they run their businesses. More specifically, leaders should open up and embrace the totality of their human essence, while organizations need to project authenticity, clear core, and awareness in their relationship with the customers.
If manager’s task is to speak the rich language of essence, authenticity, and alignment in order to create prosperity, then intellect won’t be of great help here: there is nothing authentic about intellect. “If you follow logical mind, then anybody who follows the logical method can catch you anywhere.” Intellect can get managers profits. From that point on, the law of diminishing returns applies. To reach for sustainable prosperity, a totality of human essence needs to be utilized.
Lend your intellect a dose of authenticity. It will thank you for that. Society will thank you for that. Hone your awareness. Observe intently. Stay open-minded. Listen to yourself first, data second. Go on intellectual detox. Come back sharper, more aware, and deeper.
When speaking about relevance to the society, innovation is the key. Continuous innovation is what creates and keeps the customer. Great innovation, however, is possible if leaders welcome uncertainty, transcend established ideas, pursue creative new alleys, and are in tune with their time. Innovation based on intellect won’t get you far: more of the “better sameness”. Innovation based on intuition and insight will, in turn, result in meaningful breakthroughs that speak to the 40% of customer’s happiness, because the resulted product/service is authentic and aware. Here are two reinforcing examples from the world business leaders:
- Steve Jobs believed that “customers cannot tell you what they need.” Customers can articulate their desires based on their current knowledge, but that would not lead to insight and result in great innovation, would it? Jobs did, however, focus on delivering value to the customer and he did it through intense observation and intuition among others.
- David Holder revived a “sleeping beauty” Ladurée (French luxury bakery, famous for its macarons) and positioned it as a premier Parisian experience. Mr. Holder is known to follow his intuition and he did by developing a unique brand concept “beyond the diktat of current trends.” He followed the principle of “beautiful place, beautiful people”, establishing Ladurée shops in places aligned with the core of beauty of the brand, where meaningful connection with local managers was established. By aligning spirit of the brand with the destination he believed customers could receive the most authentic Ladurée experience.
To conclude this series of posts on human essence as a key prosperity, my engagement in Global Drucker Forum 2014 made me think how far we have come and what is next for management. In 1959, Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” to signify our transition from industrial-based era to knowledge-based are. Considering current turbulent economic climate where business and society have merged, the next era might as well be the era of human essence.
Consider exploring next: A New Breed of Business Leaders: Intuitive Principles for the New Millennium