We are what we do and everything is linked
Will Durant (1926) once neatly summed up Aristotle's (n.d.) thought saying, “We are what we repeatedly do. ” Earning a living is one of the biggest things in life. Of all the roles we play in our lifetime, such as parent, lover, partner, friend, child, our work role is the one we play intensively. It is where we join economic production. Therefore, our working life is our ultimate direct contribution to society. That is what we repeatedly do in society.
Whatever our work activity is, it is embedded in the economic infrastructure. It is integrated deep in society. The current business climate defines all the details of our day to day tasks. From designing a digital image to collecting rubbish all over the city, each and every job is affected by the same business climate.
Hence, however much they may look irrelevant, all those things such as politics, government policies, lobbies, academia, ethics etc. are all relevant to our jobs. Therefore, keeping ourselves updated and seeing the wider picture is a big part of our jobs. So is learning and developing.
The business world today, is evidentially increasingly fast paced ,multi-national and global. It operates, even after 2008 crisis, with a staggering estimated 71.83 trillion US Dollars GWP (Gross World Product in 2012) (CIA, 2013). Our working life is in the middle of all this. Can we really survive (let alone be successful) in this complex system without an on-going learning process?
Success is all about the “brain”
Being successful at what we do is all about awareness and making conscious choices. All the aspects of working life are somewhat limited except people. For example, technology will be as unlimited as the human brain’s imagination.
In contrast, the human brain has completely unlimited capabilities and that is where the endless possibilities lie. As Robert Winston(2003) writes, the human brain makes an outstanding development in the womb adding as many as 250,000 neurons a minute. It continues with its amazing hardwiring after birth reaching 80 % of adult size by the age of two (Winston, 2003). According to Merkle (1989), humans' brains within today's business world should be able to carry out
about 1012 to 1014 operations per second. Furthermore, amazingly, it is the only organ in the body which can get better by age, providing we exercise it and continue to learn.
Hence, success means, supporting people’s learning and development so that everything else develops for the better. Knowledge and experience increases people’s awareness. This helps them make better choices for themselves and others. In today’s specialised working life, we all have to delegate some things to other people. If they are better developed, they are more likely to succeed in those tasks. That ultimately means we succeed.
Charles Handy(1999) says, “Remember only the key fact is that intelligence has many faces...” meaning everybody has different types of intelligence such as musical, practical, logical etc.. Organisations are as successful as they can optimally co-operate all these different types of intelligences in a harmony towards their purpose.
In practical terms
- Work competence begins with understanding the bigger picture
- The more we understand how the whole organisation works and where is it trying to get to, the more likely we will be motivated to input
- Greater understanding of our role in an organisation makes us less alienated towards strategic goals
- Even the smallest task can contribute a lot if it is done efficiently
- The excitement of achievement motivates people
- Achievement is not always a big bang, it is, most of the time, small tasks completed efficiently
- Completing daily tasks with efficiency is a buzz itself
- Learning is a circular journey between wider perspectives and focusing back to the nitty gritty of daily tasks
- Adventure of exploration refreshes people
- Performance improves by getting out of the routine work environment and rediscovering things
Our emphasis is on being:
- Passionate about integrating theory, practicality and specific circumstances
- Creative, unusual and daring
- Learner orientated
- Exploratory with a questioning mind
- Achievement orientated
Last of all...
We once knew how exciting learning can be when we were children. We mastered doing up buttons after endlessly repeated thinking and doing. Let’s go back to that state of mind and modestly admit we all need to learn more to get better at whatever it is we want to be better at.
“He who asks a question is a fool for a minute; he who does not remains a fool forever.”