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How Civilized is Your Workplace?

How Civilized is Your Workplace?

At Slow Leadership, we try to remind people of truths that have been around for a long time:

  • that haste makes waste;
  • that driving your people to the edge of breakdown isn’t something to be proud of;
  • and that an essential part of the job of a leader is to create and preserve a workplace that’s a more civilized and satisfying place to work than it was when he or she found it.

A civilized workplace is one where people have the time and freedom to do their jobs to the best of their ability. No one is bullied or hassled by some boss high on ego and testosterone. Leaders trust their subordinates to do what they’re paid to do; and subordinates trust their leaders to act with their interests in mind as well as the firm’s profits (and the executives’ stock options).

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It’s a place where the pay is fair in relation to the nature of the work, and raises are awarded to those who deserve them, not based on some arbitrary formula designed more to cut costs than recognize merit. People aren’t expected to ruin the rest of their lives and relationships to save the boss’s butt or make the business look good in the eyes of some Wall Street hacks. In a civilized workplace, work/life balance has real meaning; and those that choose to honor parts of their lives outside of work aren’t immediately marked down as “lacking commitment.”

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Civilized workplaces are good to be in. Productivity is high, because people enjoy what they do and put a lot of themselves into their work. There’s a sense of fun, as well as deep purpose. Lots of people want to work there; talented ones easily choose to stay. You can feel the difference when you walk through the door, just as you can feel instantly the hostility, depression and frustration in a workplace run on Enron-type, pseudo-scientific, neo-Taylorist principles and executive arrogance.

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So how civilized is your organization? To find out, hop over to Slow Leadership and try the quiz. Maybe your organization will come out smelling of roses. Maybe it won’t. Whatever the outcome, I hope the quiz will help you think about what you might need to do, in your own leadership sphere, to increase the level of civilization in your bit of the workplace.

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Adrian Savage is a writer, an Englishman and a retired business executive. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for everyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on June 26, 2019

Why Your Perception Is Your Reality

Why Your Perception Is Your Reality

Take a minute to scan your surroundings. Are you in a familiar place or somewhere new? Stop reading this, and just look around you.

Pick out an object, maybe something you hadn’t noticed before, and focus your attention on it.

If you really focus, it’ll get brighter and more “real” than it was when it was just an unnoticed piece of the background noise of your life.

Now, try to view your surroundings from the point of the object. Some people can do this with no effort, and for others, it takes some concentration. Depending on how adept you are at focusing your concentration, you may notice a slight shift in your perception – a weird jump in realty, where you are suddenly viewing the world from a different perspective.

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Did it work?

Whether you noticed anything or not, your perception did change, albeit for an instant. It’s important to be conscious of your perception, because if you’re not, someone else will create it for you.

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you to see them. Artists do too.

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You may have seen Julian Beever’s amazing pavement drawings. He utilizes the Trompe l’oeil technique,[1] which means “trick the eye” in French. He uses his drawing stills to create a perception.

Like an optical illusion, our mind attempts to fill in the details of something — it either thinks it already knows, or doesn’t quite understand. This works out fine, when that’s the intention – momentarily letting our world be shaped for fun.

But wandering through life, letting others create your perceptions, can make for a very unfulfilling life.

Change Your Story, Change Your Perception, Change Your Life

“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” – Douglas Adams

We all get caught up in our stories. Most of us think we are our stories. It’s when those stories take on a life of their own, and that life isn’t the one we want, that things start to suck.

Think about the story you’re living right now. Who wrote it? Did you consciously decide to create the reality you’re living now, or was it mainly shaped by your parents, friends, spouse, school, or the media?

If you don’t like the story you’re living, then change the perception. Envision how you’d write the next chapter of your story. Better yet, actually sit down and write it.

Focus your perception on creating a new reality, one where you are in charge of the story. Take back the job as screenwriter and director, and stop just being an actor.

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Everything begins with a decision – decide now to be in charge of your own perception of reality. Because if you don’t, there are plenty of folks whose sole purpose in life is to craft that perception for you. Do you trust them to have your best interest in mind?

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Featured photo credit: Andreas Kind via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Artist Network: Fooling Around With Trompe l’Oeil

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