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Liberating human potential

Liberating human potential
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If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that human beings are capable of achieving incredible things, especially when put under pressure.

We have doctors, nurses, hospital porters, cleaners, checkout operators, delivery drivers, warehouse staff, police, ambulance crews and so many more stepping courageously into their roles to keep us safe and keep us moving.

We have evidence of heroism, of selflessness and of an unshakable commitment to others in celebration of what it means to be a part of society, to be in a community, and to care for one another. In so much darkness and depression there has been so much light, as if we are all part of some kind of global balance. Those of us that understand the power of nature and the role that complex systems play in our lives are not surprised by this sense of balance. But the story here is a fundamentally human story, with a narrative that we at Impact want to celebrate and amplify.

We think it is time for all organisations to rediscover their essential humanity. What we mean is that for far too long we have behaved as if somehow humans are in service to organisations – that organisations create the rules that humans follow. We seem to have almost completely forgotten that all organisations are designed to serve humanity in some way. At Impact we have always seen organisations really clearly and simply: as groups of human beings working in service to other human beings. When we forget that simple truth or choose to ignore it, we are responsible for dehumanising our workplaces and abandoning a commitment to service that has to be at the heart of creating value for society.

How we design organisations matters. We have seen the role that organisations can play in employees’ wellbeing, either positively or negatively. We have seen the role that organisations play in protecting or destroying the natural environment. Organisations cannot be neutral. There is lots of evidence that organisations that are designed with humanity at the heart of everything they do are far more successful. Impact has long been a proponent of the idea of organisations being great places to work and we have pioneered approaches to creating a human-first organisation globally that has seen us win lot of awards as a Great Place to Work. We need to fill the world with organisations that are great places to work.

At the heart of the most human of organisations is a commitment to help people flourish, to become the best versions of themselves. Organisations that get this right design a red thread that connects purpose, meaning and value together; it’s something that employees feel and customers value.

But becoming the best versions of ourselves and living up to our potential doesn’t happen by accident. It has to be an intentional part of how any organisation works, how it is designed and, crucially, how it learns. Learning is at the heart of meeting our potential as human beings, as organisations and as a society.

In the pandemic we have all had to learn to adapt, adjust, improve and respond. We have had no choice and the results have been remarkable – helping us to see what people are capable of. We need to see the pandemic as a catalyst to spur organisations on to learn about how to liberate the human potential of all employees in service to our future beyond the crisis.