“How managers manage can lead to deeper self-discovery” – Guest blog: Peter Purcell, Business Integrated Solutions

Guest Blog | Mon 18 Jun | Author – Business & Finance
thought, learning
(Image: Tero Vesalainen on Pixabay)

Peter Purcell is CEO of Business Integrated Solutions Ltd. In this piece he speaks of ‘meaning’ in all aspects of your daily operations and how it benefits you and your business going forward.

Peter Purcell, Business Integrated Solutions, learning, meaning

Peter Purcell

We are a learning and organisation-development firm, with a difference. The difference is we help managers lead their teams to actualise values for fulfilment of meaning, rather than actualise results for fulfilment of themselves.

Understanding ‘meaning’ and how it benefits your organisation

Our understanding of ‘meaning’ is based on the philosophy that we discover meaning through personal values – creative, experiential, attitudinal values, and that meaning cannot be prescribed. Work must serve personal value for employees to attain or enhance that value through the tasks and activities they action.

‘How’ managers manage can lead to deeper self-discovery, actualisation of values, more positive engagement, less mindlessness and more mindfulness. A managers responsibility is so extensive it can become overwhelming for many.

Actualising values can be contradictory to the more common belief that our primary goal is self-actualisation. However, many don’t realise that Maslow admitted, “the business of self-actualization” can best be carried out “via a commitment to an important job.” (Abraham H. Maslow, Eupsychian Management: A journal, R. Irwin, Homewood, Illinois, 1965, P.136.)

This would suggest that self-actualisation, is the “unintentional side effect of life’s intentionality”, as Viktor E. Frankl suggests in The Will To Meaning, 1969, P38I.

If that is so, what else could be unintentional side effects of business intentionality? Lack of belonging, apathy, boredom and feelings of needed change? Not only does history show self interest doesn’t work, but if organisations are commanding and demanding increases in workforce productivity, engagement and profits while suggesting self-actualisation will be achieved along the way, why are so many not engaged and looking to move and unwilling to commit? Why is underperformance still a relevant business issue that fails to resolve itself meaningfully? Could it be that these commands and demands are a side effect, a by-product, that cannot be achieved precisely because they’re commanded and demanded and the best way to achieve them… is to not try to achieve them?

Executive realisation

Are some executives realising this and taking a traditional business-like approach to the answer, hence the introduction of corporate social responsibility (CSR), mindfulness and employee engagement programs, as a way to compensate for the overall lack of corporate ‘whole’ health and well being?

Our mission in Business Integrated Solutions is to reorientate business towards an integral philosophy that recognises the primary motivation of the entity as a will to meaning, not a will to power, money or acquisition. It’s a new theory for business but an old theory for humankind.

It will replace the contemporary motivational theories that we know – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Alderfer’s modified-need hierarchy, Herzberg’s two-factor theory, McClelland’s theory of learned needs, Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model and McGregor’s striving for goals other than those of a pure economic nature, as none of these theories address what some of them allude to, but none of them suggest as primary.

This journey started out for us in 1994 in Ireland beginning in 1981 from Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, striving to reorientate business-to-business (B2B) learning- and organisation-development environments towards a culture of care that understands employees’ primary motivation as a will to meaning.

The challenges range from structure and culture, to leadership and performance with the Internet of Things (IoT) having to include the Internet of People (IoP). This suggests that self-transcendence could be the key to greater fulfilment in work, through the discovery of meaning and to find meaning in ‘life at work’, increases the chances of finding personal meaning in life.

Learning and development/Organisational development

We often get asked are we learning and development (L&D) or organisational development (OD) focused? Both areas need not be mutually exclusive.

OD is about ensuring the organisation is acting on a range of activities that help it run more effectively. L&D is about developing the skills of people in the workplace so they can be effective in their jobs.

In many ways L&D forms part of OD activities, yet OD doesn’t always need to deliver using L&D resources.

There are some common denominators in terms of competencies required for both:

  • A philosophy of openness and appreciation for different perspectives.
  • The ability to ‘hear’ before responding, not cosmetically listen before reacting.
  • The ability to listen, ask questions and get to the heart of the matter.
  • The ability to develop solutions which meet the needs of the person aligned with strategy.
  • The ability to deliver, facilitate and implement solutions in an array of organisational settings.
  • The ability to develop relationships with people across the business.
  • The ability to recognise – that depending on the role of the person – and help people attain personal value through their tasks requires knowing what they value in the first place. Having the skill and competence along with the time requires knowledge in the foundations of human leadership.

The results are more confident managers, active and committed employees, who are good at self-understanding, self-leadership and leading others.

Business Integrated Solutions helps employees in organisations experience how to cultivate meaning for integral and personal improvement, health and well-being. That is, learn how to discover or enhance the experience of meaning in work.