While doing some research today to understand the relationship between play and intrinsic motivation, I was dumbfounded to see the words “belonging” and even “recognition” within the description of intrinsic motivation. To me, this seemed absurd, since I always believed that intrinsic motivation was doing something for its own reward rather than for an external reward and doing something so that you can “belong” or get “recognition” from others seems to me like that’s an external social reward.
Digging a bit deeper, I discovered that intrinsic basically means “naturally” and it also relates to our psychological development. When I read that, it suddenly made me realize that “intrinsic motivations” are our basic psychological needs and values that we strive to meet as we grow and develop through our different stages of development.
So when we’re younger, play (which is intrinsically motivated) helps us to develop our social skills, including a sense of belonging with others. But as we get older, we “level up” and “play” within newer roles (i.e. job, career), seeking a sense of self-esteem and recognition in our work as well.
If this is accurate though, then intrinsic motivation goes beyond belonging and recognition and includes many more mature aspects of growth like freedom, autonomy, creativity, and meaning. In effect, we are naturally drawn to these newer needs and values as we mature and evolve, just as we are drawn to belonging and recognition in our younger years.
Most people have no concept of where their motivations come from, what stage of psychological development they are at, what stages they have passed through, or what stages they still need to master to find fulfilment in their lives. The only criteria they have for making choices are: what makes them feel happy in the moment, or what gives their life a sense of meaning and fulfilment.
Happiness, meaning and fulfilment are not synonymous. What makes us happy is the satisfaction of our ego’s needs, and what gives our life meaning and fulfilment is the satisfaction of our soul’s needs.
It’s funny. I just remembered something else from a long while back talking about leaders in The Future of Work acting more like hosts rather than bosses. Therefore, their goal isn’t to take control of the conversation and dominate it but rather it is to make it more conducive, connected, and flowing amongst others. This is pretty much the same thing a leader of a community strives to do online. They act like facilitators more so.
I think for them to be effective with this though, especially if they want to connect a large group of change agents with different disciplinary perspectives, is that they have to be good at understanding and bridging the different disciplinary perspectives, metaphors, and languages of each one of these people, showing how they are actually similar to one other.
Hmmm. And perhaps in the process, a shared metaphor and language can be created that everyone can understand, thus leading to a shared vision in turn.
I was reflecting back on Deborah Frieze’s TED Talk about how change occurs like living systems, using her and Margaret Wheatley’s Two Loops Model from Berkana, as a way of describing how this occurs and how different people can fulfill different roles in the change process based upon where they are at and what aligns with them the most.
In thinking about this though and relating it to my last post, what I realized is that there isn’t one inflection point of change occurring but multiple ones because every individual is evolving and growing at different stages of development. So it’s not just understanding what role you fulfill but at what “stage” of change are you at within your life.
Having said that though, there’s a specific quote by Deborah below that really hits home for me because it embodies what I feel has been going on for almost a decade with many change practitioners and consultants who do seem to be at the right stage of change but just can’t seem to make the leap to the next stage.
…if they get connected to one another, sharing information and learning, then their separate efforts can suddenly emerge as a powerful system capable of disrupting the old order and giving birth to something new.
I’ve been saying for the longest time, that I see all of these notable people talking about the same thing but from their own disciplinary perspectives and languages. And while everyone of these people are most definitely sharing information, what I feel is missing is a collective sense of learning because, for that to occur, it requires everyone to start speaking a similar language of meaning which is most definitely not happening yet.
But what if that’s not needed at first? What if all that’s need at first is to just show a map of how all of these different people are working on the same thing from their own disciplinary perspective. Would a bigger picture of such help connect these people and make them realize they are not alone, as there are others out there working on the same thing in different ways?
And would that connection then help them to come together and decide upon a shared language and vision which in turn helps them to become the “powerful system” they’ve always wanted to be to disrupt the “old order.” It would probably require people to let go of their egos, so as to allow for a greater collective identity to emerge and take the center stage, rather than any one person.
As I said then and as I believe more than ever today, the principles aren’t wrong or misdirected. However, in the war of words that is central to the battle for the soul of our organizations, fighting under the banner of social business is a losing proposition – the modern equivalent to knowledge management. It’s just not winning the hearts, minds and slices of the budgetary pie necessary for our shared vision to become reality as quickly as we need the change to be the reality.
Unfortunately I have come to feel the same way about the “Future of Work” discussion and movement, despite the fact that it is the direction where my social business cohorts have headed. It’s hard to talk about the future of something when you haven’t created a shared vision upon the present that is emerging and what distinctions must be embraced and elevated.
So what are the words that will serve as our campfire around which we will gather for camaraderie and warmth? What is the language of the movement that encapsulates the multiple distinctions and insights that collectively are driving us towards a future free of today’s most commonly accepted defects? I don’t think it’s social business, I don’t think its future of work. I’m open to other suggestions, but for now I’d like to start this conversation focused on what I have consistently heard as the most fundamental change we must realize – a change in organizational structure and governance. A re-imagination of what an organization looks like and a rethinking of what we mean by work.
While we may not yet have adequate language for what we envision, I submit for your consideration that we are talking about a widespread #ReOrg. The reorganization of our mindsets, methods and measures about the organization, about our relationships to them as humans and about the fundamental practice of management as the underlying operating system that governs its behaviors. It’s time to create a more holistic view of how we create value, and especially with a focus on how we can optimize our ability to create shared value that benefits society as a whole instead of just those who have won the war for control.
Yes, it’s time for a #ReOrg. Are you ready? Let’s talk about it.
In order to even get started on a journey to a New Way to Work, we need to embrace new mindsets that give up on “doing things the way they have always been done”. As I’ve stated in my post “It’s Time for a Forward Thinking Conversation“, we need to rethink, reimagine, redesign and #ReOrg our entire approach to organizations and their culture. A lot of people have been spreading the meme that “Culture eats strategy for lunch” but too few people really understand what culture is and even fewer understand what must be done to shape it and how leaders are negatively reinforcing it with their own behaviors. The challenge is that there are so many contributing factors that go into culture, getting to the root causes, language and actions that create it and reshape it can be a daunting task. There are no standard best practices for fixing a broken culture, though there are some common insights that may be applied to your unique situation. As I see it, the first thing that must change is a need for REAL Relationships in the workplace as much as we need them for success in the marketplace.
REAL is an acronym as well as an intention – it stands for Reciprocal, Empathetic, Authentic and Long Lasting. We all need to get something out of our time together. Despite your title or position, the employees are not only there to be subservient to your will. For many senior leaders this may in fact be the most difficult insight to accept, but the performance improvements to be gleaned have already rewarded those bold enough to embrace this reality. When leaders embrace the fact that we are all in this together and support a deeper sense of TEAMWORK, costs go down, opportunities increase and employee engagement dramatically improves.
New mindsets are more then the foundation of a team based, collaborative culture. They are also about the shift in what we value, what we are willing to accept and what we are not willing to accept. Do we tolerate assholes simply because they are high performers? Do we only care about profit? or do we care about people and planet too? Increasingly market leaders are the one’s who understand that money is only one measure of success. Yes, it is an important measure of success, but as consumers and even corporations are shifting their mindsets, there is a greater realization of the benefits of serving the whole of the market. This is resulting in more leaders and more organizations discarding institutional thinking focused on capturing maximum value for shareholders and instead optimizing to create maximum shared value for all stakeholders.
Quotes from these two posts by Chris Heuer relate to what I said in my last post about the importance of understanding the bigger picture and narrative of vertical development. It helps you to see how each stage of development and level of consciousness is like its own world(view) and reality, with it’s own vision, mindset, values, and meaningful language.
It also explains why there is so much conflict in articulating a shared vision for The Future of Work because leaders are often operating from different stages of development and thus from different mindsets and values. In fact, this is the same reason why there is so much conflict in the world as a whole today and why so many of our political leaders are unable to deal with the wickedly complex problems that are emerging.
Taking my last post a step further, I’m realizing that my work isn’t just about showing other people the larger context of vertical development within the world’s events, such as The Great Resignation, but more importantly it’s about showing how my all of the research over the last two decades fits within the larger context of vertical development as well.
This is something profoundly important to recognize because the reason I kept researching new and larger things since 2001 is because no singular thing I researched seemed to be able to contain the meaning and understanding of everything that I was looking for. When I finally grasped the meaning of vertical development though, I began to realize it not only provided a larger context of life but it provided a larger context and container with which to organize the knowledge I had been researching for the last two decades of my life.
An easier way to understand this is to view each aspect of knowledge as a stepping stone contained within a larger narrative of wisdom that helps one gain a broader understanding and meaning of what’s going on.
So for myself, I indicated previously that I’ve been “Researching The Future of Work, Social Innovation, and Creativity” over the past two decades, describing it linearly as I learnt it. But if I reflect back upon my research and rearrange the knowledge I’ve learnt into a narrative format, I’d describe it as “Researching how Vertical Development helps us to understand the Creativity needed to achieve the Social Innovation to step into The Future of Work.” But it even goes beyond this because it is play (at a higher conceptual level) that makes this creativity possible.
But to put this within the context and reality of our world today. Many people are feeling like work is no longer working for them and perhaps even feel like it’s working against them. This is why The Great Resignation isn’t over but it is evolving into something larger.
Initially these people will be just be angry and depressed, grieving at the way things used to be but also frustrated at seeing no way forward. Eventually they may learn about The Future of Work which makes them feel hopeful, like they aren’t alone, as other people are looking for a new way of working as well. But then the question arises, how do we get to this new world of work? They may learn about the social innovation required to do so but will then learn about the (social) creativity which what makes this possible.
Very few people will probably learn about vertical development though which again helps you to understand all of these things within a larger narrative arc of life. In effect, individual and societies are continually evolved and changing, although many many not perceive that. The Future of Work is just the current name (albeit a poorly named one) for the social innovation needed for us to continue evolving and growing as a society.
Something has shifted within me the last few days that is making me consider doing a complete pivot with regards to how I approach my work and market myself. It arose after reading an extensive article that was written by McKinsey & Company in 2022 that talks about The Great Resignation (aka Great Attrition, Great Renegotiation) and the new talent pools arising from it.
While the paper was an amazing read (because it highlighted how workers are not just quitting jobs but they’re quitting entire industries to move to other ones), what really caught my attention was the latter part of it. It describes how the current workforce talent pool has splintered and becoming more complex by shifting into two primary groups: traditionalists and non-traditionalists. When reading this, I was basically dumbstruck because what it was describing sounded very similar to the difference between Socialized Minds and Self-Authoring Minds as described by Robert Kegan’s work.
For example, while it broke down non-traditionalists into four personas (i.e. Do-It-Yourselfers, Caregivers, Idealists, Relaxers) of different age groups, a common characteristic of these people is that they seem to be all valuing more freedom, autonomy, flexibility, and purpose in their work, not too mention wanting a greater focus on their health and well-being in their career development. In comparison, traditionalists often aren’t willing to strive or bargain for these things because they’re more risk-averse, thus they’re happy with just having a decent salary, good job title, and status at their company.
To understand the shift that’s occurring here in greater detail, it helps to focus on the values that people feel like they need to progress further in their work and development (as noted by this quote from the article below).
To navigate this new playing field successfully, hiring managers can look beyond the current imbalance in labor supply and demand and consider what different segments of workers want and how best to engage them.
To do this, employers should understand the common themes that reveal what people most value, or most dislike, about a job. For instance, it cannot be overstated just how influential a bad boss can be in causing people to leave. And while in the past an attractive salary could keep people in a job despite a bad boss, that is much less true now than it was before the pandemic. Our survey shows that uncaring and uninspiring leaders are a big part of why people left their jobs, along with a lack of career development. Flexibility, on the other hand, is a top motivator and reason for staying
Why this is important is that it directly correlates with vertical development and how our values change as we “level up” our consciousness and move from one stage of development to another. Richard Barrett has an awesome chart that shows this in greater detail below. Not only does it show the newer positive values one desires as they level up, it also shows the limiting values at lower levels that one is looking to step away from. Note how this corresponds with what people are looking for within organizations right now and what they wish to avoid in companies now (often represented by potentially toxic leaders and culture).
And what’s most remarkable of all is how this chart and its attributes correlate with what I said above about how traditionalists are like Socialized Minds and non-traditionalists are like Self-Authoring Minds. In effect, traditionalists as Socialized Minds would be those who have reached level 3 (recognition, self-esteem) above. In comparison, non-traditionalists as Self-Authoring Minds would be those who have stepped beyond level 3 and are now desiring the values associated with level 4 (freedom, autonomy) and 5 (meaning).
This is why this extensive article seems so profound to me. For the longest time, I’ve been harping that we need to help people to “level up” their consciousness, awareness, and perception, thus enabling us to collectively tackle the more complex issues arising within our world today. But what’s happening here is almost the reverse. The increasing complexities and challenges within the world of work are causes people to seriously question the way that work works and making them desire to “level up” and strive for something better.
To put it another way, I believed my challenge before was trying to make people understand the deeper complexities and paradoxes of vertical development. What if it isn’t? What if my work is simply making people aware of the vertical development that is going on all around them and within their lives already? In doing so, it can help them to see a larger context and framework to life that they can begin to navigate with beyond their current limited frameworks or mindsets that often don’t describe what’s off the unknown, uncertain edge of their worldview and beyond the horizon of their mind.
No one is born with work experience. Everything must be learned, and passion and desire can be more valuable than knowledge. Those entering a new field should provide any previous work or academic experience that shows their willingness and ability to learn. Anyone not happy in their career should be free to make a change, but there should be a history of progressive learning and achievement. – John Feldmann, Insperity
Yet what’s amazing about this statement is that there is no place to show this informal learning on a resume, yet it’s obviously an integral part of The Future of Work. Again we need something that goes beyond the limited structure and layout of a resume. Even more, we can’t separate out learning from working, as the two are often entwined. So seeing the larger context of your life which shows how your work and learning choices entwine with it.
That said though, I think that proving that you know what you’re learning is essential though and I think your blog or site is a perfect way to do this. The problem with most blogs though is that this knowledge is often spread out over many posts. So you need something like a page that summarizes the essence of this knowledge but then links to posts that relate to it as references.
Connect The Dots
Stand out as a candidate entering the workforce or transitioning careers by connecting to the challenges the company is trying to solve. Do your research via LinkedIn, social media, Glassdoor and news reports. Demonstrate your knowledge/insights. You can also build relevant experience via projects and pro bono work that is more in line with the position you seek. – Sara Whitman, Peppercomm
Please tell me what company is trying to solve reinventing the resume? Please tell me which company is trying to solve how we can integrate vertical development into society to help transform it?
No one is tackling these things because they’re seen more as social issues rather than business issues. And yet they directly influence and affect the business world, as they could release the untapped potential of billions of people and create such a surge of productivity and growth the world has never seen before.
But ya, the only thing I can do is create a project section to my website and show the progressive essence of what I’m learning from this research.
Be Creative, Dare To Be Different
Before I transitioned into HR, I was in marketing and held a degree in marketing. I put my creative hat on and showed similarities between marketing and human resources and how having such a background can be beneficial to the department. I recommend to highlight key things on your resume that you currently possess that will allow for an easy transition. Charece Newell, MSILR, SHRBP, Sunspire Health
The words “Be Creative” really resonate with my Be Real Creative mantra. And showing how MMORPGs are a metaphor for The Future of Work, as they both require “guild-like” communities of practice for “levelling up” via vertical development, is pretty much as far out there creatively speaking as you can get, without being seen as completely crazy.
All said and done, the more I see articles like this though, the more it seems like if you’re going to do your own research, learning, and development on something so groundbreakingly new and can actually monetize your “exploration” in some way, why would you ever want to work for a company again at all?
That to me is pretty much The Future of Work I envision the world is moving to, with the conventional concept of an organization eventually going extinct, because they’re not undergoing this same radical playing (aka research) and learning as individuals are. In their place will arise new types of organizations, much more fluid and directly supporting the growth and development of their members much more so than conventional organizations could ever conceive of doing.
In thinking about how recruiters don’t seem interested in understanding the larger context of your life and why you’re making a career change (as there’s no place to show this on a resume), I wanted to know if there was a way to write a resume to actually show this. In doing so, I found the above article.
Writing, in this example, is a transferable skill. Transferable skills include both hard skills and soft skills, like leadership, time management, multi-tasking, communication, organization, emotional intelligence, listening, research, and many more.
Pro Tip: Include these skills in your work experience section, focusing less on duties and more on the skills you have developed, as these will be of the most interest to the hiring manager.
Write a resume objective or summary that frames your career change as a strength
Your resume objective or resume summary sections are a great way to convince recruiters that your past experience sets you up as the perfect candidate for the new role. These statements tie in your experience and skills with what your new career demands.
When writing your resume objective, focus on the skills that you’ve picked up throughout your current career and other previous roles and explain how you plan to use them in this new industry.
This last quote is somewhat hilarious because it’s effectively what I’m trying to do with my life as a whole. I’m trying to show how my time building communities of practice (guilds, clans) to help people level up within the imaginary worlds of video games is utilizing similar personal and organizational skills that are needed to create communities of practice to help people to “level up” in life (i.e. vertical development).
It kind of mirrors how John Seely Brown has shown how there is massive innovation occurring within World of Warcraft communities but because they’re gaming communities, people in the business world are completely obviously to it (and probably don’t see it as relatable or transferrable to the world of work).
I was thinking about redoing my resume and decided to do some research on functional resumes rather than the typical chronological resumes, as they’re supposed to be better for career changes. In the process, I found this article indicating that functional resumes are not liked very much because they give the feeling that you’re trying to hide something. Instead, they recommended a hybrid (or combination) resume.
In thinking about this though, I realized that there are probably a ton of people creating these types of resumes right now because so many people are fed up up with not just their job but the entire industry they’re working within and want to shift to another one.
Why do recruiters hate this format?
“You’re taking information out of context,” said the recruiter. “It’s easier to BS your way through to make things sound glamorous. Within the context of where [skills and accomplishments] took place, it gives me a better idea of what’s going on.”
They hate it because they need to draw their own conclusions. The functional resume format was created to cover up gaps in an applicant’s experience and recruiters know it. They will skip straight down to the work history to try and figure what you’re hiding. It’s a dead giveaway.
“I definitely want to see everything laid out in context,” said the recruiter. “I’ve seen plenty of people that try to use a functional resume that’s not in that context, and I tell them, ‘You’re just shooting yourself in the foot.’”
That said, recruiters understand that people change careers and can’t always count on their work history speaking for itself.
“If you’re trying to make that transition, yes, you’re going to want to try and list your transferrable skills,” said the recruiter. “But again, I wouldn’t do it so much where you’re listing everything at the top [above your experience].” Instead, the recruiter suggested taking a “more blended” approach.
The keyword “context” really jumped out at me when reading this though. Why? Because even though recruiters wanted to see “the context of where your skills and accomplishments took place,” what’s evident to me is that even though recruiters realize people change careers, recruiters don’t care about understanding the context of why a person is making a career shift, as there’s no place to show this on a resume. In other words, resumes are often optimized for linear progression within a specific field. They don’t adequately communicate logical progressions and changes to another field.
For example, when I look back on my life as a whole, the progression of my work seems logical within the context of my life’s experiences. When I look back on just the context of my work though, without knowing the larger context of my life, the progression might seem illogical and scattered.
It’s funny though. As I’ve always said, I’ve never consciously made career changes because I wanted to “work” in a new field. Instead it was often because I was excited by discovering a new field and even more so because it allowed me to express myself in newer ways than I could before. For example, learning about the Web was amazing, both because of the potential I saw of it but also how I could put it to use in expressing myself in newer ways. So working with the Web came naturally afterwards but the initial experience of it was one of just playing around and learning something new.
This discrepancy in evolutionary development between the individual and the cultures the person is embedded in, is one of the reasons people decide to leave the corporate world. As they get further along in their evolutionary journey, they reach a stage in their development where they no longer feel aligned with the values and beliefs of the organisation they are working in. They become gradually more stressed and begin to feel burned out, either because their needs —the opportunities they require to move ahead with their development—cannot be met by the culture they are working in, or because they no longer feel a sense of alignment with the values of the organisation.
Many people put up with such situations for far too long. Because of their loyalty to the organisation or their commitment to their work, they stay longer than they should. They justify their actions by entertaining the dream that somehow the culture will magically change. Others stay because they believe they will not be able to make the same level of income or get the benefits they now enjoy, elsewhere.
They lock themselves into a cultural environment where they feel they have to park their values in the car park every time they enter their place of work. Spending long periods in such a state of misalignment sickens the soul. Eventually, most people get to the point where they cannot stand it anymore. They feel so unhappy that they look for alternative employment, perhaps accepting a lower-paying job, one with fewer benefits, or part-time employment. They will be willing to go anywhere, to get away from the toxic environment of their current place of work. The more talented and courageous among them will start their own businesses.