I discovered a gem today that was recorded at a TEDx event in San Diego. The always inspiring Simon Sinek describes a truth that most would admit – that the modern world has become increasingly less human.
One of the things that has made our race so successful is that we are social animals. And being social, trust is a critical driver of both our success and our happiness. With the rise of massive corporations, globalization, and the increasing number of interactions that hide behind technology, we have less of an identity within a common purpose and belief system. What happens to trust when we celebrate and cater to the individual? As social animals, we’re unsure of where we stand. Or what we stand for.
Sinek uses companies as an example. He points out that as businesses find success and get bigger, it usually means that the organizational knowledge of its purpose gets diluted. Although a company’s financial success could increase, if its purpose isn’t strictly aligned with all actions, a distance grows between management and employees. And with that distance, the human bonds of trust are challenged. Old timers talk about the glory days, and how it just doesn’t “feel the same anymore”. The new people don’t really know why the company was started in the first place, and without a common purpose they create their own agendas. And without clearly common beliefs and values, the engagement and emotional fulfillment of most employees pales in comparison to when it was in startup mode.
So what’s the answer? Sinek says “technology hasn’t helped”. It’s been great for driving efficiency, exchanging information, and speeding transactions, but it’s terrible for making actual personal connections and creating needed emotions like trust. Those things usually require people to be in the same room together. And that’s what’s needed. More people putting more stake in what it means to be uniquely human, so that trust becomes the standard in our interactions, not the exception.