Awareness

Photo by Metro Centric

In the last few weeks I have been taking classes in positive psychology and practical philosophy. Both disciplines have a lot in common but the main thing is the idea of awareness and noticing out surroundings. The basic idea is kind of ironic. Only by truly being aware of the now and truly feeling it, you can achieve long-term goals of a sustainable happier life.

If you watch the amazing clip above, you will learn many things about human behavior. One of the most interesting pieces of information in it is that while American people complain that they don’t have enough time for themselves, for their families and their friends because there are swamped at worked, when asked what they will do with an extra day a week, they answer – will work more. Talking about being aware and not noticing what we are doing to ourselves.

When you think about, this tension, between long-term goals and short-term, almost hedonic, needs is a tension that is found in all facets of business and management life. How often do you stop to reflect and ask yourself – what am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? How can I make sure I recharge myself so I can keep up this crazy race in the long run? I am sure the answer is – not much. Life is to hectic, work to demanding, costumers want things yesterday.

Now think about your employees, peers, teammates? When is the last time you stopped and noticed them? Spent some time really getting to know them? Thought about their lives and what drives them? Thought about how to make their lives easier so they can survive the long run? Besides the fact that socializing and informal communication was found to be an important antecedent of creativity, innovation and team effectiveness, there are much simpler reason to be aware of your employees.

Grant McCracken asked, on HBR.org, a few days ago: Do You Know What Your Employees Are Watching? While McCracken suggested that we can learn about trends in the economy from employees TV habits, I think the question is important on a much more individual and personal levels. Are you aware that your employee loves to watch that dance show, because he always dreamt of being a dancer or even taking a dancing course? What will happen if instead of giving him a standardized bonus next time, you would be able to buy him a dance class for the same amount of money? What if you suddenly notice that all your employees are into Glee… will that enable you to create a contest between teams in your department that will boost morale?

Opportunities to make a difference are out there all the time. the question is, are you aware enough to notice them and utilize them for long-term benefits.

Elad

Correction: In the post I talk about a clip, which I forgot to include. Here it is:

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2 Responses to “Awareness”

  1. Anne Says:

    That simple awareness of “others” can make all the difference… We all have an individual happiness factor…
    Becoming aware of our own happiness factor and that of those around us can make things so much easier… There should be no need to force anything when you can easily manage tasks according to that happiness factor…
    Yet awareness takes time and effort, along with a commitment to those surrounding you. It must become an
    intricate part of the person, a continuing growing of our perception in relation to our surroundings. More to the point: “giving the appearance” will not work as previous management methods.
    Awareness must be genuine it must be the foundation in order to achieve individually & collectivly.
    With this in mind is corporate governance capable of operating at this level. Are they capable of forgoing the immediate result. Do they have the patience needed to properly cultivate this foundation?
    I have to say I’m not sure on this one…
    This brings us back to the top down idea…
    Is it really there or just the appearance?
    Anne

  2. sherfelad Says:

    Anne,
    Strong words indeed. If you read this blog consistently than you will find out that not only I believe top down is not the answer, but I actually think our governance system is not equipped to deal with the challenges we are facing today because what we need is that human connection that comes out of hard work on the expense of the short run.
    However, it is our job to start the change, to spread the words to make a difference by talking about it and by practicing it. Everything is possible.
    Elad


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