6th April 2017

Thank God it’s Friday

Thank God it’s Friday is a term which has gradually and surreptitiously inveigled itself into our regular and every day language and mind-set, so much so that they even named a restaurant chain after it. So what of it?

Well think about what it may signify. Friday marks the end of the working week; something that we are desperate to see the back of. Similarly Monday marks the start of the next working week. I recently learned that Sunday night often is the night when we sleep worse than any other night and Monday morning is the time that a heart attack is most likely to take place. What is all of that saying about our attitude to work?

The overwhelming majority of the US and UK working populations are not only not engaged with their employers but are actively disengaged from them, their teams and their purpose. Why? What a tragedy!

Not only does that mean that the majority of us are involved with jobs and organisations with whom we cannot relate but it also means that we are spending each working week engaged in stuff that has no meaning, significance or stretch to us. We may as well be machines. Just imagine what affect that has, over time, on our sense of self worth and self esteem. Imagine what that does to us as people, as individuals, as sentient human beings. Imagine what that does to those near us; our spouses, our children, and our friends. Is it any wonder that we start acting like machines and is it any wonder that the greatest threat to long term employment is people being replaced by machines?

The organisations that we are part of have to stand up and be counted for having created a world where people feel disposable, not valued and troublesome.

I overheard a conversation one Monday morning recently when a team member innocently asked someone she was talking to on the phone whether they had come into the office, ‘turning cartwheels of excitement’ that morning. Unsurprisingly she was answered in no uncertain terms in the negative. The shocking thing was the person she was talking to was the owner of his own small business. If he wasn’t enthusiastic about it, how can we expect his team to be anything other than unenthusiastic? This then starts a doom loop of negative expectations and negative experiences. Does it have to be like that?

Surely one of the most important responsibilities we have, as business owners and leaders is the welfare of the people who entrust their livelihood to us. If we cannot help to create an environment where people can play at their best, feel at their best and be their best, then what right do we have to that trust? Can we really expect anything other than tepid performance and luke-warm application to the service of the stakeholders, whether they be customers, investors or fellow team members?

If we fail to create an environment of worthwhile work in a caring and sustainable business model then we really will get the results we deserve.