What will the world be like if every person found meaning and fulfillment with their jobs? How will our roles in our most important relationships change? What kind of parents and partners will we become? How will our contribution to society as a whole change?
These are the questions that I think about often for many reasons. First, I have personal experience in what it felt like to be fulfilled in a job. I was kinder, smarter, funnier, more creative and most importantly, much, much happier than I’d ever been. This radiated into every aspect of my life, thus I felt like I was a better person and doing “what I was supposed to be doing”. Ironically, this organization was Disney but my fading allure for my job had nothing to do with my work environment, competencies or level of education. I found that there were very specific things that motivated me that were no longer being met. For me, it was the need to develop and grow.
The second reason I ask these questions is because I’m fascinated with the future. Much to the frustration of my significant other who absolutely loves exploring the past, where we are going to be in the next 50-500 years is so very, very cool to me. It makes for very heated discussions at times but at the end of the day, nobody can argue with the fact that we live in a period unlike any other in history, a very diminutive window in time where we get to remember a past when growth and innovation took centuries while also getting to experience a time where we see 100 years of innovation happening in less than a decade. I would think that would excite everyone as much as me, but not the case. Most people are freaked out, and rightfully so. The future of the way we live and work is changing so rapidly it’s dizzying.
As an avid student of many of the most relevant futurologist, the science is compelling and ideas that were part of a futuristic dystopian fiction, are now being realized in labs all over the world.
Researchers now have at their disposal increasingly acute ways of looking into our brains and bodies to understand our attitudes and behavior. Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of NY, predicts we are moving from the Internet to the “Brain-net”, in which thoughts, feelings and emotions could be instantly transmitted across the planet. If that doesn’t blow your hair back, imagine being able to actually “feel” what another person feels… hmm, I wonder if we’d still have war or if my neighbor will stop letting his dog poop on my lawn?
While this is all happening, a recent report in the World Economic Forum predicted that robotic automation will result in the net loss of more than 5M jobs across the world by 2020. Kevin Kelly, author of Inevitable, predicts that “ninety percent of our coworkers will be unseen machines and many of the jobs that politicians are fighting to keep away from robots are jobs that no one wakes up in the morning really wanting to do”. With this evolution in the work environment, we will be forced to focus on ways to dream up new work that matters. Even with robots possibly gaining consciousness at some point, we are still humans, we NEED to create.
So what does this mean right now for business leaders trying to get ahead in a time that will consist of a unique clash between employees finding meaning in their work and technology slowly taking over many of their jobs?
As I stated earlier, I’m an avid student of futurology, certainly not an expert, however, I do believe there is a place where we can start, and that’s with simply understanding employees on a deeper level so that they can begin to identify what truly brings them fulfillment in their work. Current markers of “meaningful work” consist of assessments and surveys that look only at how employees view their conditions at work or how their personality may predict how likely they are to behave in their role. As these offer valuable insights, they don’t get to the heart of what truly motivates people on an intrinsic level. How can you even begin to identify something that is so allusive?
MotiveX, an emerging insights company, is at the forefront of what I call the “Unescapable Movement to Fulfillment” and has developed an assessment that give leaders a glimpse into each individuals intrinsic motivators. More importantly, it identifies areas where they are lacking access to these motivators within their current role. Imagine having a direct line of sight into what each employee values most and then putting them into situations where they can act on those values. How much literal “heart and soul” do you think they would bring to work with them each day? Ahh… if only the leadership at Disney had this tool a few years ago, the pixie dust would still be floating around my head.
So back to the original question, what will the world be like if every person found meaning and fulfillment with their jobs? Only the future can tell what innovative leaders will embrace the Unescapable Movement to Fulfillment.
Carrie Casullo is the Co-founder and CMO of MotiveX , a human capital insights company focused on employee motivation for the Smart Machine Age. Her mission is to live in a world where every individual finds fulfillment and meaning in their work. She has spent over 25 years inspiring organizations and employees to achieve their highest potential through strategic imperatives that deeply impact; employee engagement, learning and development, marketing and sales initiatives.
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