Last week I was talking at the 14th Management Summit in Istanbul. The title of the talk was 'The need for creativity in the workplace'. However, given that I was on immediately after lunch I decided that the audience needed something a little more awakening and hence my talk changed its title to WOW!
In putting the talk together I realised that more and more companies lack WOW moments. In other words, everyone from the CEO downwards effectively go to the meeting factory and the business speak production line!
I have spoken in the past about the problems caused by our conformist education system that surgically removes creativity from our young people. I have also talked about the failure of a heirarchical management system that assumes all wisdom comes from the top.
If you add in the deplorable waste of women as a resource in our organisations, together with the long hours that we expect people to work and it is hardly surprising that creativity in the workplace has difficulty surfacing.
So why don't organisations change and behave more like the entrepreneurs that are taking over markets with WOW moments by the dozen? The answer I have decided is fear!
The obvious fear is the fear of change. People are naturally afraid of anything new and prefer to reside in the bosom of the known. Then there is the fear of failure. People have suffered from a society that praises success and despises failure. So risking failure holds some people back.
But the biggest fear is the loss of control. The hierarchical system created a business model where control is everything. No where is this more obvious than in middle management. If only they realised that by losing control they would not be threatened by those below them. Anyone that is creative enough to challenge the status quo isn't looking to take the manager's job; he is aiming much higher!
The real paradox of this refusal to change is that it is this attitude that will ultimately bring about the downfall of the business. Lack of WOW loses customers, loses staff and ultimately loses the business.
What businesses do not need is more consultants. They are the people that borrow your watch and then charge you for telling the time! What you need is a WOW enabler!
So, at my ripe old age I have developed a new role for myself of enabling WOW and putting fun back into businesses. If nothing else, i have fun submitting WOW enabler invoices and wondering how the straight laced accountancy department code that one!