Freedom, Talent & Purpose
By Filipa Larangeira, CEO & Co-Founder at Newmanity
Sufi poet Rumi has a famous quote that I think about often: “You wander from room to room, hunting for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck!”
This quote is applicable to so many dimensions of our lives but I find it particularly relevant when it comes to talent and organizational development strategies. Whether they are big or small, the majority of companies tend to ignore their in-house “diamond necklaces”, just as much as individuals disregard their own talents and skills.
If you don’t believe me, just ask your colleague to pitch you his or her talents and be prepared for a long and uncomfortable silence.
The inability for both individuals and companies to find and develop their talents and skill-set has an overlooked but serious impact on personal well-being and business success. The symptoms vary from high turnover to high costs in recruitment and formal training.
However, this is merely a consequence of deeply rooted belief systems built on the lack of freedom to choose.
Here are some examples:
In school we are told that we should choose only one professional path: we’re supposed to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, artists. And we’re supposed to stay in that profession until we retire.;
Throughout our career, we are considered unstable and aloof if we have too many job experiences;
The very notion of career success means job titles instead of personal development or a sense of fulfillment.
Company reward schemes are mostly connected to vertical career progression.
We are multifaceted beings in constant evolution, which means that aside from our natural talents we also have the ability to exponentially develop new skills. But that ability is strongly connected to a basic requirement: freedom.
The inability to freely choose and experiment makes us obsolete, old-fashioned and ultimately unhappy.
Because of our social constraints and self-imposed limitations, most of us only unleash our full potential when we face major roadblocks, such as unemployment or a lack of resources.
There are some other less “painful” and more creative ways to develop and find those new talents and skills: Internal mobility, Job Crafting, Intrapreneurship, Skill-sharing and Multidisciplinary problem-solving teams, are some of the most successful.
But it’s in that scary place called Outside Comfort Zone, that real magic happens.
When we begin to unlock all those unknown skills and talents, we reach an immeasurable state of fulfillment, motivation and purpose. We also gain a new superpower: professional immortality. Come what may, we are able to adjust.
Studies show that motivated employees are almost three times more productive than dissatisfied employees. So purpose is also good for business!
Successful companies like Google, Booking.com or Semco have already understood the impact of employee freedom on company engagement, capabilities, innovation, productivity and ultimately, sustainability.
So next time you feel unmotivated at work or you want to hire someone new to increase business results, search inside yourself: You might just find that diamond necklace you’ve been looking for.