Work, Love and Poetry – 02/04/13
Just over 20 years ago I read a wonderful little book called Love and Profit by Jim Autry. The title caught my eye as I was walking through a bookstore; I opened it to the first page of the introduction, and it snared me completely:
“First, a few straightforward statements about some of my beliefs regarding work and management:
- Work can provide the opportunity for spiritual and personal, as well as financial, growth. If it doesn’t, then we’re wasting far too much of our lives on it.
- The workplace is rapidly becoming a new neighborhood, and American businesspeople are helping make it happen.
- Good management is largely a matter of love. Or if you’re uncomfortable with that word, call it caring, because proper management involves caring for people, not manipulating them.
Those who have read this far and think what I’ve said is too crazy for business should stop reading now.”
Jim had recently retired as CEO of the Meredith Corporation; I had just started Proteus. I was thrilled and inspired to know that there were successful executives who felt this way. I had hoped it was true; they were the ones with whom I wanted to work. I sent a copy of the book to Leo Kiely, at that time the newly hired President of Coors Brewing; it resonated for him as it had for me. Leo worked with Proteus for many years – he was one of first “caring-focused” CEO clients.
Keep Your Standards High…
The moral of this story: trust that work, and your work relationships, can be what you want them to be. You can have trust, transparency, honesty, affection, curiosity, and joy at work. Not everyone wants that – but some people do. You can find them.
And for your reflection, two haikus about what’s possible:
Imagine a world
Where all are paid a good wage
To do useful work
If bosses were fair
And cared about their people
Work life would be great
I invite you to focus on how to make this happen, rather than believing it can’t, or complaining about the fact that it doesn’t.