The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working

…The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance

In reviewing our organizations needs for speed and reconfigurability and ‘speed’ being a ‘shaper’, the issue that Tony Schwartz in his newly released book entitled, “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working” (2010) truly should help us stop and think about our current world and its dilemma. Technology has pushed our ability to speed up the business cycles, make decisions in nano seconds, yet in all of the glory the human being is being depleted of their best energy to perform at their best in this environment.

Schwartz reviews the four core needs that energize great performance in the individual,

1) Sustainability (physical);

2) Security (emotional);

3) Self expression (mental) and;

4) Significance (spiritual).

Schwartz outlines where organizations are undermining high performance from their people yet organizations do not address the core needs of the individual and what keeps them inspired at work daily. After all, Schwartz points out people are not computers.

I do see some of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs being addressed in what Schwartz mentions as the four core needs. Maslow’s work is foundational in seeing people’s potential.

Schwartz addresses the purpose of passion and he quotes, “ To fuel spiritual energy, and organization must define a set of shared values and a purpose beyond its continuing profitability…., A new way of working ultimately requires an evolutionary shift in the center of gravity in our lives – from “me” to “us” (p 296).”

In terms of shared leadership, in collaborative teaming environments, to me this is critical in us being unified in our mission, especially as we work in competitive environments demanding of each of us to be a bit more reflective of others in our quickly changing world.

Schwartz, T. Gomes, J., McCarthy, C. (2010) the way we’re working isn’t working: the four forgotten needs that energize great performance. New York, NY: Free Press Publishing.

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About Linda Savanauskas

An accomplished talent management professional with experience in curriculum design, development of learning strategies, and professional skills development training programs for the workplace. Collaboration in training programs includes small and medium size businesses (SMB) to larger organizations from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Virtual instructor led training can be offered to any location.


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