Obviously, Maddie and I are making a strong case for making our organizations more human, but based on some reactions we’ve been getting from people (who haven’t yet read the book, in their defense), there is a misperception that needs clarifying.
We’re not talking about singing kumbaya. We’re not talking about organizations where people communicate well, or express their feelings, or think people are awesome. There’s nothing wrong with all that (and we do talk about communication and emotional intelligence in the book), but Humanize is not really about a shift in attitude, away from bureaucratic mindset towards one that “values people.”
Humanize is about power.
Humanize is about creating organizations that tap into the power of being human. So at one level, we don’t care if you “value people.” We care that you have a culture that embraces decentralization. We care that you have processes that support people both inside and outside your organization to tell more of the truth. We care that you get serious about collaboration. We care that you make experimentation a reality in your organization and that failure is not feared.
When you do these things, you’ll have access to so much more power in your organization. Power to make social media actually work for you. Power to be more agile and nimble and shift when you need to. Power to get the right things done at the right time. Power to engage members and employees more fully.
Truth be told, I’m fine if you want to sing kumbaya in the workplace. Knock yourselves out. That just doesn’t have much to do with creating a human organization. Humanizing is harder than that, but it will help you solve some really tough problems that “valuing people” could never touch.