Working at a company for 40 years, in this day and age, especially for millenials!? No way, impossible? Really, 40 years?
This gentleman we have bumped into at a restaurant during our daredevils food tasting tour along the narrow streets and arcades of Manila Chinatown… yes, this smiling person, he is such a man.
He is not part of the corporate life like us, nevertheless, he is running his restaurant with a smile! I mean, come on, look at that smile. Look at that clean traditional outfit he is obviously proud of wearing. Look at the pose with a subtle pride reflecting his honor stemming from being part of the success of his restaurant. Not to mention his enthusiasm to serve us by himself and if you could only hear his tone of voice with such timid vibration!
Wow, 40 years!? Gosh I had to reflect this somehow!
What on earth is wrong with us? Why can’t we feel like this man? Do I need to mimic this in corporate life and sell software in a bazaar to feel this way?
What is the magic?
Where is this authentic connection with your job coming from? I mean, come on, of course I am aware of the wackiness of comparing corporations to a small restaurant which is like a forgotten realm to the rest of the world, but hey, hear me out. There is something to be studied in here and I do believe this could benefit all of us!
What is the Problem again, Yasar?
The problem is finding authenticity in business life’s lit corridors with dark souls around and I believe being happy at work is the cure. I don’t know this restaurant owner’s life, his problems, but running the same show with a smile and stamina in about 50m^2 space seemed reasonable enough to me that there is something special about this whole setup.
Finding authentic happiness?
Finding authentic teams?
Talent Managers in HR?
How authentic and unpretentious are you? What do you reflect outside from inside?
Why is this Authenticity Thing So Difficult These days?
I guess there is bit of a fear factor. Politics. A globalized world, creating tension on people as now everybody is expected to understand everybody as in different cultures, ethnicities, local dynamics. It is hard. Really hard. So much pressure on all of us. People, if not given room to be fearless, tend to have fear and suppression of thoughts become a reflex. I love how management science attaches a lingo to such things by telling some people to what extent they should be direct in their conversations, which is not an appreciated trait in corporate life sometimes as you have to analyze different stakeholders’ interests in a systematic way. Failure to do so would be a cross-mark on your leadership potential. And you would fail? Hmm, really?
True, but then you instill a culture of fear.
Fear suppresses emotions. Suppressed emotions kill freedom, authenticity in everything and it kills people, slowly but surely, and converts them into robots. I sometimes feel humanity is being prepared by some big force for the rise of robots and those will be us, not some high-tech gadgetry. Think of it like some kind of an X-MEN mutant sterotype transformation process! 🙂 Call me crazy!
All of this kill also innovation.
Do we need a startup culture everytime we do something new?
If you look at the origins of marvellous startups since the dotcom boom era, those innovative usual suspect sons of god, there was hardly any fear in them. Now large corporates are struggling to figure out how things can be changed.
You know what, here is my idea. Spin off a small unit, let them have a culture that has nothing to do with your own culture, let them be free thinkers, nomads, and test the performance of an equal division you setup internally as a test subject…see the performance on same tasks you could assign to them. Expose one of them to the usual intricacies of corporate life by keeping them inside, and see the other as they do things from outside.
Or, look at the social entrepreneurs we are working with Manila. Hapinoy, Rags 2 Riches, MessyBessy…there is some family culture, very respect based relation, typical hierarchical relations you can expect in any setup based on seniority… Something feels overly different and I think it is the rather relaxed ambience of doing things in a state of mind driven by happiness and willing to have impact on people’s lives and unconditionally believing that they can make a change, or part of the change. Don’t they have survival anxieties. Of course they do, who does not. Forget the companies, as humans we have that as part of our DNA, right? So do they.
Benefits of Organized Chaos?
I love throwing bold hypotheses. When I look at any establishment, whether a chinatown restaurant, a sari-sari store, a Manila based social enterprise setup, etc. despite all challenges due to having rather chaotic system, somehow there is an organization, though inefficient, that paves a safe way along the chaos tunnel and somehow things work.
But the happiness is there.
Authenticity is there.
Love is there, affection, empathy, sympathy…whatever you call it.
Now the challenge is, how do you combine these two different worlds, one is highly unstructured, one is highly structured and almost mathematically formulated, and drive efficiency while keeping happiness, authenticity alive?
And this is my journey, I am putting my hand under the stone for, I am willing to take at this point in my life.
You know what, this already makes me happy!