She stood up suddenly, gesturing toward her friends at their table, spilling the latte! “Why in the world do you work at a place you don’t truly love! All you do is whine about it every day!” She laughed, “What’s wrong with you?!” The conviction of the young woman was impossible to miss. Then, the café returned to its normally anonymous din.
But, for some of us, her point was undiminished: It’s your responsibility to have a job you love — and that means a work place and work team and boss you really, genuinely like and respect. Said differently, the experience of work should be super good, and that’s in your hands, isn’t it?
It’s possible that the 70% of the workforce that feels disengaged (as reported in research for the past three decades) failed to learn what that woman knows. I asked her. She said she learned being happily employed is the top predictor of success, and the greatest factor influencing workplace happiness is the experience of one’s boss on a daily basis — not the project or profit results.
Let’s take a look at being experience-oriented, and being results-oriented. Results are static, recorded, now, then. Experience is dynamic, moment-to-moment, emotional. Common sense reveals there is a conclusive difference in being experience-oriented and being results-oriented. Each of us — men and women — can go both ways. The person who professes a strong results bias at work can be witnessed after work immersed in experience at the tavern or the run, at cooking or with the kids. Somehow, the Great Santini parent misses the experience of the kids, and the cook who is not into the experience is probably an unappetizing sort even when the meal is on time.
Consider listening skills training when hearing and learning are not the core of the course. Or, skiing when the experience isn’t the inspiration and the teacher.
So, contemplate the wonderful insight of Michelle Miller as she spoke at TEDxAmsterdam Women 2016. The extraordinarily creative Miller is described as “a writer and producer of books, television and apps who experiments in digital art. Her novel The Underwriting, a satirical corporate thriller about Wall Street, Silicon Valley and online dating, first appeared as a self-produced transmedia serial, and she is now writing the television adaptation with Endemol and Fox.”
Michelle’s TEDx talk centered on her observations about masculinity and femininity. She spoke about characteristics that reside in each of us. In these ways, femininity and masculinity are not related to gender: Femininity entails experience-orientation, while masculinity targets results. As a writer, she fervently aimed for creative works as published results, but she discovered that the results were elusive and diminished until she fully engaged in the creative experience.
Michelle Miller observes: Today we are asking for more and more measures of results, and we are loosing the experience.
We can do 1,000 trust falls during team building and not experience trust. But the predisposition of trustworthiness can overcome the trust fall failure, with a “let’s try that again” smile. The trusting predisposition is a catalyst for enthusiastic, “Can do!” culture. And such culture is the engine of engagement and sustainable brilliance.
When we have fully engaged, happy work cultures, the experience enables extraordinary results. While it’s the leader’s responsibility to assure this, it’s each participant’s obligation — their responsibility to self — to not suffer dumb culture endlessly.
Happy workplace experience fosters sustainably brilliant results.