Bring the Whole Person to Work

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“Do what you do with all of yourself,” is a powerful maxim.  In fact, in the challenges before us we can not afford anything less.  It invites each of us to bring the whole of who we are to each endeavor whether it be at home or at work.  When it comes to addressing complex challenges, dealing with rapid change, being more innovative and getting more with less, we need the richness, intelligence and full engagement of everyone around us.  The whole person needs to be invited to show up at work.

Unfortunately, too much of the leadership and management understanding and subsequent behavior of many executives invites only part of what others have to offer.  One senior manager in an organization I was consulting with referred to the people on the factory floor as “the hands.”  He tended to treat others as if they were there solely for him to direct and that it was his and the other members of the senior team’s thinking that was required while everyone else were there as “hands” to do their bidding.  Yet, as our consulting work progressed and we worked with the “hands” it turned out that as more of who they were was invited in, the more innovative and productive they became.  In fact, more than 80% of the ideas that led to a 30% increase in productivity and a doubling of the profit came from those on the factory floor.

There is another benefit in inviting the whole person to show up beyond those of increased innovation, higher levels of engagement and better solutions to complex, challenging issues.  You, personally, are inevitably enriched by the complex, full texture of a vital, whole presence.  In the presence of others who are really “showing up” we tend to show up even more.  There is in fact a beneficial “contagion” of possibility, courage, honesty, flow of ideas as well as professional and personal growth.

Are you inviting the full person to come to work?  Are you bringing the fullness of who you are to all that you do?

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