Rhythms of Performance and Corporate Insanity

Human nature has been directly influenced by rhythms and seasons since our existence. But much of the corporate world doesn’t tend to recognise this. Instead it tends to flat line performance; expecting a constant output, without fluctuation – As though humans are automatons while at work.

This has more to do with leadership and shareholder fear, rather than what is natural or optimal.

Cycles of performance are required to get the best from life and human potential.

For instance

  • Fertility and giving birth adhere to cycles that are set to optimise the healthiest possible outcomes.
  • When not interfered with by scientists, our foods change as the seasons change providing different styles of nutrition, comfort and warmth to help sustain our energy at different times of the year.
  • Eat too many carbohydrates at lunch – in other words over bias the lunchtime cycle – and you are likely heading for a sleepy time at your desk in the afternoon.
  • Humans are around 75% water so a dehydrated human can crash their performance because water and our body/mind have a rhythm they need. Think about how water stagnates when it has no rhythm or flow.
  • Suffer sustained, interrupted sleep and irritability will likely creep in. Adequate rest is as essential to performance as any goal setting.
  • Work in climates that peak very high in summer temperatures and both the cycles of energy and appetite for work decline in these hot months.
  • Have an employer that doesn’t care about the cycles required in recognition and feedback or a healthy life / work balance and staff engagement and effort decrease.

How far different influences? 

Speak to any emergency service crew and they’ll tell you that (despite no definitive study) some of their customers change for the worse when there is a full moon. As the amount of ‘crazy’ people and incidents they have to deal with seem to increase on those nights.

It turns out that maybe lunacy is not just the myth of werewolf’s and spooky films. It’s a real, cyclical phenomenon that could affect human behaviour!

Does Your Boss Care About Your Natural Cycles, Seasons of Performance?

While athletes train in specific types and different cycles of work, rest, nutrition and self care to optimise their performance for an upcoming major tournament, the corporate world mostly chooses the opposite path.

They push a flat line of performance that only changes when the fear increases and they demand more from an already run down, cut-back or burnt-out work force. Certainly us Brits and some other Western cultures major in this. 

“Getting More with Less” – The Great Lie!

This is one of the most disliked phrases I’ve heard in recent times.

Not just because it smacks of a blatant lie. As it often means making cut backs that pile on more work and stress for those left in a job.

Many of which are left so anxious about the threat of losing their job, they daren’t say anything contrary to their employer piling on more work and hours, outside of their contract.

Not so The French!

I applauded the new French law back in April that prevents employers piling on after hours work, whether by task, email, phone calls, smart phones or tablets.

It’s illegal for employers to be luring employees into extra work past 6pm!

While Sweden has been trialling a new life / work balance that mean workers have a limit of just 30 hours per week.

In fear soaked Britain that would be considered, by some, as part-time!

Imagine giving Usain Bolt the corporate recipe for success?

“Mr Bolt there’s been some positive re-organisation and we need you to help out as we’ve cut back your department. There aren’t so many athletes in the team now so some extra overtime is required (evenings to practice long-jump) and can you find a bit more timeas we need an extra person in the pole vault team.

By the way squeeze a bit of food in of course when you can. The track maintenance staff have been cut back too so can you support them to cut the grass, clean the spectator stands and by the way we noticed your last month’s performance was a bit down (Cough, Cough).

We still really value you of course but remember to hit the gold medal target we’ve set for you this month. This really is an opportunity you know – getting more with less”

The Ultimate More with Less

You may have noticed the recent news report about technology being developed for safe, driver-less cars. Sadly, this news story is the beginning of the end for the taxi industry.

For those that remember, think ‘Johnny Cab’, the automated taxi driver from the original Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Total Recall.

On a more serious note

  • Where does more for less stop or become counter-productive to human health, performance and potential?
  • Isn’t it already counter-productive?
  • And because (from a clinical perspective) a major root of these problems is fear…
  • …Why aren’t other Governments and Industry leaders learning from recent psychology to change their over-active anxiety that prevents them making healthy changes to our life / work balance?

After all, what will the capitalist model do when the demand of more with less peaks so far there’s not enough people working to spend any money on more?

For interesting debate and insights into how you optimise customer experience performance come chat to us at Future Vision.

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