Archive for the ‘Hugh MacLeod’ Tag

Prime motives

I enjoyed Hugh MacLeod’s interview with Mark Earls a week or so ago, in which they discussed “Purpose-Idea.”

Put really simply, the Purpose-Idea is the “What For?” of a business, or any kind of community. What exists to change (or protect) in the world, why employees get out of bed in the morning, what difference the business seeks to make on behalf of customers and employees and everyone else? BTW this is not “mission, vision, values” territory – it’s about real drives, passions and beliefs. The stuff that men in suits tend to get embarrassed about because it’s personal … P-I makes things personal – makes you put your balls on the line.” 

The drive towards authenticity necessitated by our recent financial debacle is founded in the concept of meaningful Purpose-Idea. As Earls suggests, many are uncomfortable with close encounters of the soulful kind; pride and dominion have warped our human-ness, and many think themselves above the messiness of emotion or passion. Yet e-motion refers to the force that gets us moving, and having mired our productivity in artificiality and emptiness, we no longer have the option to ignore prime motives.

Whether boss or worker, President or homemaker, now is the time to establish your ground in a Purpose-Idea that has infinite meaning for you. Do not settle for material rewards, financial gain, elevated personal status. Be sure you set the bar high enough that no unexpected circumstance can deter or discourage you. Locate the vision that will remain ultimately motivating, and reorient your affairs to address that vision exclusively.

It’s time for Americans to leave behind the fads and cheap thrills of adolescence and progress to the responsibilities of adulthood. Only then can we anticipate the joy and fulfillment that come with deep meaning.

Relationship priorities

Hugh MacLeod, of Gaping Void, is a rare bird: an artist who consistently and rather successfully interfaces with the corporate world while retaining full artistic sensibility.  Look at this thought he gave us last Friday: “… the hard bit of having a “good idea” is not the invention of it, nor the selling of it to the end-user, but managing the myriad of politics and egos of the people who are supposedly on the same team as yourself. Managing the vast oceans of human chaos that all enterprises ultimately are, underneath the thin veneer of human order.”

Certainly this sums up my fairly lengthy experience in the working world.  It’s a major reason why I’m now a solopreneur.  It used to be shocking to me that fellow workers would routinely put my requests of them on the bottom of their lists.  To me, the needs of others within my company had absolute top priority.   But the pervading sentiment seemed to be that if a fellow employee asked for it, it can wait, sometimes indefinitely.  After all, I was their peer, and their loyalties lay exclusively with the bosses or the buyers.

In a family, we would call this dysfunction.  In a family, we know that love and loyalty are due first to those to whom we are related.  We work hard to understand and support one another as a paramount responsibility in life.  But in business, somehow, our ‘families’ are taken for granted, and often abused.

Our power, money, savvy, and technology have led us to believe the corporation is invincible.  But if we spend only a little time looking underneath this assumption, ” … the vast oceans of human chaos … ” are readily apparent.  As this work week begins, consider the value of your work ‘family,’ and see what happens to morale and productivity if you place their needs on the top of your list for a change.

Primal urges

“Part of understanding the creative urge is understanding that it’s primal. Wanting to change the world is not a noble calling, it’s a primal calling.” I came across this revelatory statement in Hugh MacLeod’s gapingvoid write up about creativity from a couple years ago.

From this point of view, it’s easy to see why many of our old ways don’t work. The total disregard for individual creativity enforced by Industrialism and our system of public education results in a society that’s essentially deformed. You can’t ignore the primal, it derrives from a power stronger than gravity. By attempting to deny personal creativity, we become mere shadows of ourselves.

But is creativity by definition ‘wanting to change the world?’ I would suggest it’s more about wanting to know the world, to drill down to essences, to offer your best abilities in service to your compassion. Creativity is dwelling in the interface between your inner knowing and your interactions with the world, and finding ways to harmonize the two. Creativity is our primal impulse to bridge the gap between heaven and earth.

So if you need justification for spending time developing your creative self, just remember that it’s instinct, as natural as breathing. If you care about your health and appearance, you devote time to exercise. If you care about your soul and happiness, you make room for creative practices in your life. And if we all care about justice, excellence, and prosperity, it’s high time we all buy into the culture of innovation in business.