Flexible and resilient, are we taking it too far?
Load shedding in South Africa again. The jokes are flying around. The guy in Pick n Pay says “Us South Africans can do this, we are flexible and resilient, it’s no problem for us”. But are we? Just how far can we push the human system before there is a failure?
We live in a world that is convinced that companies need to work twice as hard just to maintain their current market position. The effect is that work targets and goals, and performance standards keep increasing; more and more is demanded. Under pressure to produce financial results that can attract good credit ratings, companies combine these high targets with cost cutting and reduction of head count in order to get the best possible financial results. Now we demand more from fewer people. Executives are also rewarded for achieving these results. That is the system.
We must however ask ourselves “what are the hidden costs?” The medical profession can tell us: stress, exhaustion, and burnout are all becoming epidemic. The current world-wide concern around obesity is pointing to the fact that the human component of the equation is not able to keep up with this pace. Various health and exercise fads fail time and again on one simple fact: our bodies are continually pumping adrenaline and cortisol into our blood stream, we are being kept in the “fight, flight or freeze” frame on a permanent basis. In this frame, our food is not digested properly, and nutrients are not absorbed. Damage is being done on a daily basis. We have completely forgotten how to take care of self, how to relax and re-charge.
When it comes to machines there is planned maintenance, shut downs even to ensure that necessary care is taken to keep productivity at a maximum. When it comes to people, we as a society, expect from ourselves and others to just keep going, with no down time. When our bodies shut down and illness sets in, we do not look at the real culprit – a lack of taking our humanity into account in our lifestyles and work environments. Where will it end?
The costs to the company and society is hidden in absenteeism, sick leave, accidents on the factory floor, and senior management taking sabbaticals where institutional knowledge and guidance is lost to the organisation. These costs are substantial. Taking a more human approach to people management by changing our attitude towards self and others is where we begin. A healthy, happy workforce is a productive and loyal one, which has been shown to impact positively on the bottom line.
If you are suffering from stress, then one useful technique that I have found really helps is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). It is a combination of Power Therapies, Energy Psychology, Life Coaching, and Energy Medicine. It is a simple technique that has profound lasting results for many different problems. It is used to combat stress, helps with eating disorders, addictions, post-traumatic stress, emotional and even physical pain.
EFT is a combination of Western cognitive thought therapy and Eastern healing by integrating the two fields. Traditional talk therapy is used whilst stimulating different points on the acupressure system that rapidly creates a profound change. One could say this is modern science meeting ancient wisdom.
To read more about well-being at an individual and organisational level, click here.