Apathy Consumes Productivity

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Worth Over Work

The word “productivity” sometimes invokes a sense of dread and menace. After all, how often is it uttered in flattering terms, connotative of praise? Usually, it’s invocative of eliciting more out of employees, exemplified by the ongoing conflict between flexible work models and return to office decrees. While we’ve witnessed recent achievements in work-life balance, the continual pull to “return to normal” and to former meeting grounds begs the question: Why?

Productivity, for all the fuss and fire it sparks, is a metric not always clearly defined. As seen in the above video , how we measure productivity isn’t as simple as counting age-old widgets. Emphasizing butts in seats for 8-10 hours a day potentially demonstrates a vivid and careless neglect of employee needs and the context of their individual roles, evidenced in this Microsoft report on productivity paranoia.

To alleviate the paranoia and disdain surrounding productivity, we must be willing to listen to our colleagues and teams. Discussed as this podcast with strategy advisor Dart Lindsley and consultant Simone Stolzoff, productivity ought to go hand in hand with humanity.

Psychologist Lisa Miller asserts in the above video that if we step back to observe the ailments of our culture today—greed, selfishness, disenfranchisement—we may find the root of that terrible tree dwells in society’s continual departure from empathy. Presuming that we are no more than the title and duties of our jobs accentuates a glaring cultural disservice to the people who sustain our organizations. The very people we lead are those best able to delineate what ignites individual motivation and passion.

Therein, in the midst of this conflict, are we granted the opportunity to lean into our mutual humanity. An opportunity to unravel not the balance in our lives, but the hollow notion that work defines worth. Seeing people as people and listening to their unique nuances is how we discover the remedy to the human energy crisis.

That’s how we discover dreams and motivations—and increasingly elusive human connection. It all happens when we emphasize not widgets produced, but people valued.

“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” 
– Dalai Lama XIV

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