Things are going wrong in the business world: corporate scandals have revealed some business leaders as frauds and many workers view their jobs as unpleasant.
“Today business leaders are among the most influential members of society. While they are all trained to generate profits, many of them are oblivious to the other responsibilities that their new societal leadership entails.”
The business world doesn’t have to be this way; companies can be run by principled leaders and jobs can be fun and can foster flow.
“The capitalist vision now stands alone on the world stage. Will those who promote it understand and accept the responsibilities that come with the privileges they have been given?”
Responsible organizations know employees aren’t cogs, and know that greater priorities outweigh this quarter’s bottom line.
“It is impossible to survive as a leader in business without enjoying what one does. The job would become too stressful, the hours too long, and the temptation to spend more and more time on diversions too strong.”
Clothing maker Patagonia offers an example of a socially responsible company.
“A job that employs only a fraction of one’s skills quickly becomes a burden. One feels that most of one’s potential is left unused, wasted.”
Patagonia employees can leave their oceanfront offices any time there are waves to surf, and the company pioneered the use of organic cotton.
“Immediate, specific feedback is one of the most effective tools to help workers improve their performance.”
Happy employees are more productive and motivated than unhappy ones.
“Just as climbers need a mountain peak to get their juices going, or a surgeon needs a health emergency to get involved, workers need a compelling reason to focus their energies on the job.”
Flow occurs when you are fully engaged in a task; your concentration is total and your perceptions of time and self are altered.
“To bring as much flow into one’s life as possible, the first step one must take is to define one’s priorities – the things one believes are worth living for.”
Flow is most often associated with sporting pursuits, but it can exist in the office, too.
“It is all too easy to become trapped under the glass ceiling of a job and to stop growing.”
Clear, timely feedback, lacking from most jobs, is an effective management tool.
“To experience flow continuously, one must keep cultivating interest and curiosity, respond to a wide range of opportunities, and develop as many skills as possible.”
Self-knowledge is crucial to developing priorities, setting goals and achieving flow.
“To be able to experience flow throughout life, it is necessary to become the master of one’s psychic energy.”
Business & Economics
April 1, 2003
Professor of psychology at the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, where he is also the director of the non-profit Quality of Life Research Center.