Thoughts on work

Moving people

Someone once told me that the way to move your company is to “move your people”

I sat in awe of this man’s wisdom, and his words – delivered so confidently and succinctly  – seemed to make perfect sense.

He spoke about how important it was to motivate employees to do the work that would result in the company’s success.

It seemed so simple!

I am no longer with the company, but the experience of witnessing first hand the harshly enforced unrealistic expectations, declining morale and subsequent mass exodus of employees has made me question this statement or more specifically, the notion of the word – MOVE

Move your people”…what does that mean?

In the physical sense, if we want to move something we exert force against it. We push, pull or re-locate to get the item to get it where we want it to be.

We can do this with people as well, with our words, rules and punishments

– this is NOT acceptable
– this MUST be done
– there WILL be consequences
– do this NOW

Placing fear and expectation onto employees will surely get movement. It will certainly illicit action as subordinates fear the ramifications of non compliance.

Oh yes it will work. For a while…

But it is not sustainable and will no doubt lead to resentment and cynicism. Actions become robotic, joy disappears and the subsequent knock on affect to other employees and even to customers cannot be underestimated.

What would happen if we actually did MOVE our people?

If we were courageous enough to emotionally connect with them as people, understand their needs and ensure they feel valuable…

– I really care about your success
– you are so valued by our company
– I believe in you
– we are all in this together

Could we be human enough to admit we are vulnerable too and share ownership of the collective challenges with our teams? Invite them to collaborate, have a voice and believe they could be a part of the solution?

Do we want employees to wake up each morning feeling a sense of pride and belonging? To believe they are important and valuable to the company?

– I LOVE my job, and the people I work for
– I BELIEVE in what I am a part of
– I WANT to succeed

Or is it acceptable that they only feel anxious and inadequate

Which is better?

Submissive, fearful employees who feel the constant “push” of expectations which creates a reluctant movement away from discomfort…

…or happy people who are organically moved by an inner desire to succeed…creating the momentum required to achieve greatness?

We want activity, yes and productivity too but we need to question what is more valuable to an organisation…employees who simply jump or employees who happily ask “how high?”


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