A Manifesto for Changing the Systems We Lean Into
We don’t innovate. Only 1% of companies drives 40% of new jobs, and only 1 in10 sustains growth.
We don’t show up. According to the most recent Gallup polls a whopping 70% of you – that’s 70 million people! – say you are not engaged at work!
We’re still pale and male at the top despite decades of work on diversity.
- Inclusion of Women:
- 46.6% U.S. labor force
- 16.1% F500 Board Seats
- 3.6% F500 CEO
- Inclusion of African Americans
- 1% of F500 CEOs
These things are all related, and we are wasting our time and money working on them separately. Empathy is the missing link because it helps us be brave, work together, and move through change. Our organizations are getting in the way by unwittingly sapping our empathy and humanity. The biggest victims of all are aspiring leaders. Leaning into the current systems is making them worse, not better.
We must change the systems we lean into by honoring 3 basic human needs.
- Valuing whole people – not just units of production
- Providing shared meaning – beyond just making money
- Helping people grow –personally and professionally
It is simple, but it is not easy because the underlying solutions fly in the face of decades of advice and research about what leaders should be and how organizations should work. The data clearly show that these methods are failing us overall.
Here’s the most shocking thing: we can quickly get back on track by listening to the children inside of us and, if we are so blessed, the ones in front of us too. Scientists are finding that parenting increases empathy in the brain. It shouldn’t be so surprising that caring for others exercises our ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective…but we are so used to disintegrating our work and home lives, that we need data to prove the obvious.
The good news is this: innovative and successful companies are already showing us a better way. We can all make such good choices. We can grow into wise, empathic leaders. We can have flourishing, innovative organizations in which it is a joy to work. Why not start now?