The captcha style image we see when asked to confirm we are not a robot.

Confirm Humanity

A couple of days ago, I was confirming an email subscription when I was asked to verify I was not a robot. It suddenly dawned on me just how relevant it was to where we are just now. We need to stop being robots at work, and our organisations can make this happen.

I have attended many webinars and informal open chats over the last few months. I have enjoyed informal conversations with clients who very kindly gave their time for a chat. We briefly discussed how they had managed lockdown and, most importantly, their hopes for this “new normal”. There was a theme of hope! 

I was quite surprised by how much I was affected by these discussions. We need to take stock of what is happening and quickly. We need to consider what I believe we are all “quietly” crying out for, which is for our organisations to let us be “US”. If we do not, we may lose the freedom that unleashes innovation!

There is a massive surge of hope that we will connect in a far better way in future. I also believe that the darkness of COVID has offered an unexpected light at the end of our tunnelled vision. Given the suffering this pandemic has brought to so many, we MUST help that light grow brighter and do it now. 

The tunnel was a world we had been sucked into over the years. That desperate need to meet targets, appease others, prove our commitment to our organisation, and protect our chance of progression… we had become robots!

For years people’s lives have been significantly affected, and families have suffered all manner of unhappiness due to the loss of time together! We may even have noticed this impact on our family and friends, but this was just the way things “were”. The pressure from work meant we just had to accept it.

From my recent conversations and discussions, I believe most of us have felt a new conscious effort to connect with others because caring has become imperative. We recognise the need to overhaul the work/life balance because, in truth, it just wasn’t working no matter what we or others were saying. 

During the lockdowns, we have experienced a higher level of empathy; we’ve recognised that change is not so difficult. We have realised we need to modify how we currently work and ask that our working environments adapt to us, rather than us adapt to them. We need to be loyal to ourselves and not just our organisations. 

“Sawubona” is a South African greeting that I believe means “I see you”, and by saying I see you, I am saying I am accepting you. This means I accept who you are, and I accept that you are different to me and that I shall care about you and how you are. A response can be “Ngikhona”, which is “I see you too”, so you will do the same for me. Let’s all do that. 

I have been inspired and motivated by the many discussions I have participated in. They have created a belief that there is a genuine desire, and a fundamental need, for us to be less of a robot and more of a human; and, at the same time, to look out for each other far more. 

We have a superb opportunity to make people’s working lives SO much better. To do this, we need to significantly improve our working environments to cultivate openness, honesty, emotional security, safety and authenticity. Our organisations must encourage us all to speak up and demand that we do. We need to do this now.

What do you think? Can you and your organisation confirm you’re not a robot? 

“Being human may have its ups and downs, 

but don’t forget to enjoy the rollercoaster of life.”

~ Mac Macdonald ~

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