The husband says “Hey honey, I got a raise and a promotion. I’ll have to be on the road more but we’ll rack up more frequent flyer miles that we can use for vacations.” The spouse then says “So now I am going to have to find someone to cover for the kids while I am working and you are traveling more. I think I need to not work and stay home to give our children more stability”. He then says “Then we end up losing financially”. She responds “What matters most, our children’s well-being or our desire for more stuff?”
Families struggle with these kinds of decisions every day. The desire to make financial progress pulls against the desire to live a balanced life and time with our children. Business has the tendency of sucking the life out of our lives. Money is a carrot used to control behavior for the purposes of achieving a result regardless of the personal cost of achieving the result. The left over remnants of industrial era mental models of command and control and using financial incentives to shape behavior and values is like a virus we can’t seem to cure.
Reversing the Results
What if the purpose of a business was to enhance the life of its employees, its customers and its community? In other words if the result of working were life enhancing results then the business results would likely be enhanced. Of course that would mean leaders would have to have faith in human capital and believe that doing the right thing and doing things right would actually produce the right kind of results. Which really means they would have to learn to manage the intangibles more than the tangibles.
Since 80% of an organizations value is usually intangible it would serve investors’ interests if accounting principles could hold management responsible for the stewardship of these assets. The traditional argument is that intangible assets are too economically squishy to value accurately. But this argument is based on 20th century thinking. In the 21st Century Smarter Companies know how to measure, monitor and manage the intangibles because that is what drives the results.
Relationships come from the values created by pursuing the right results. Relationships are intangible and cannot be sacrificed for tangible results. Sacrifice the intangibles for the tangible results and your business, and your life, will end up being meaningless.
Unless the result has meaning it isn’t worth chasing.