The Business Poet – Chapter 8
Next to chip into the somewhat strange emergent dialogue was a human resources manager, one of the guardians of the jewels in the crown of the company, as Merlin liked to think of his people.
“I’ve noticed that many companies treat employees as an expense,” she began. “Even if they say they are their greatest asset. In some industries, staff are seen merely as cogs in the machinery of business, a source of productivity. Yet people are miraculous, complex beings, not a wheel in some industrialist’s dreamed up clockwork universe.”
She paused, taking a deep breath and chuckling lightly. “Well, as you can tell, I’m passionate about this, so I’d better not get myself started. I want to know what you think about the importance of Wellbeing?”
She was so right, and Merlin shared her feelings. He rifled through his scribbled pages and found a reply:
“Wellbeing is the untiring journey in search of meaning, an adventure in self-discovery, and a path towards comradeship.
“Popular theories of human motivation confuse needs with wants and mistake means for ends.
“They hypothesise hierarchies, dangle carrots and wave sticks, as if people in the workplace are circus animals being trained to do tricks.
“Modern peddlers of job satisfaction confuse roles with personality and mistake props for reality.
“They psychometricise behaviour, rate attitudes and score values, as if people can be measured and are mere variables in formulas to be plugged into the productivity equation.
“We are all pilgrims treading the sacred trail of our life’s work.
“Salvation lies not in finding the Holy Grail or ascending the final summit, but in walking with awareness and gratitude.
“The redeeming sacraments surround and enfold us, if we can only drag our gaze away from the false promises of heaven on earth.
“The pilgrim recognises that the end, like all goals and aspirations, is simply a reason to begin.
“The sojourner knows that all the lessons of life and growth and death are part of the journey itself.
“Lasting satisfaction is less about personal achievement and more about understanding.
“And meaningful effort comes from seeing its connection to the larger story that is being told.
“No pilgrimage is without its trials and tribulations.
“The terrain may be difficult or monotonous, the weather inhospitable or extreme, the company irritating or arrogant, but these may be the very thickets that conceal the path to our own development.
“The secret of wellbeing in business is to recognise the value of the unseen and the unspoken.
“Think not the task itself, but how it changes you.
“Train your eyes not the target itself, but how it challenges you.
“Focus not the team itself, but how it binds you in friendship.
“Cling not the position itself, but how it allows you to make a difference.
“Think not, therefore, of employees, but of master potters honing their art.
“Think not of jobs, but of ceramic studios amply equipped.
“Think not of work, but of shapely vessels skilfully made, into which we can pour our personal and collective sense of meaning.”