There’s something in my fridge that has been alive for over 80 years.
It is a sourdough bread starter and it requires regular attention. To be more specific, it is the yeast that is alive and needs nourishment and regular use to maintain longevity and flavor.
A friend with a particularly old and rare yeast strain gets frequent requests to share his starter. His reply is consistent and predictable, “Sure, if you’re willing to sign the adoption papers.”
I wish all CEOs would sign adoption papers.
Building human capacity within organizations functions in much the same way as a bread starter - it requires attention, nutrients and regular opportunities to produce in order to stay fresh and vibrant.
Neglected or underutilized workforces get lethargic and can quickly become unable to express their full potential. Cultivating human capacity is a significant responsibility that must be enduring, flexible and sincere.
Healthy yeast effortlessly yields flavor, texture and loft when cared for properly. In fact, it’s difficult to get it to do anything else when it is thriving. It's the same way with human beings.
Counting the wellbeing of your workforce as a happy accident rather strategic organizational priority is a mistake.
Are you helping your workforce do what they are naturally wired to do? Is each person on your payroll so well nourished that you literally cannot keep them from innovating, solving problems and making critical business contributions?
I wish every CEO signed adoption papers. Heck, I wish every executive in the C-Suite signed adoption papers. Workforces need nourishment, and responsibility resides with the leaders if theirs starts to languish.
- How do you know that your people are being nourished? What are the indicators?
- Are you providing your employees with identical, generic training and development opportunities regardless of their role, temperament and interests? Does this really help them thrive?