The importance of the Human Dimension in market development
“How can I grow my business?” is one of the main questions that organizations come to Merluno with.
But what does ‘growth’ actually mean? The most frequent interpretations we receive are:
- We need new business.
- We want more top-line growth.
- We want to scale.
- We want to discover which market suits our solution best.
No abnormal aspirations at all in a monetized society.
We found out, however, that a profound understanding of our customers’ worldview helps to “get the total picture.” When we really empathize, without any judgement, layers beyond words are progressively revealed while conversations become more honest and vulnerable.
As a result, this lead to more nuanced statements:
- We have worked so hard to develop our market and business strategy. Yet when we thought everything should have been clear, we do not seem to lift off.
- We thought we knew our customer until we discovered there is always a unique context to every company: the culture, the belief systems, and the interrelationships of the buyers, influencers, users, sponsors, and saboteurs.
- We have been in a reactive mode for far too long: people had already labeled us until we decided to communicate more proactively with our market. All of a sudden we are moderating the conversation beyond the traveled path.
In a tech-saturated world, people long for the human dimension
Our society is strongly driven by masculine values such as achievement, success, perseverance, decisiveness, willpower, and the like.
Companies are however increasingly dealing with people who suffer from all the ‘noise’ in the complex world of today. And instead of falling back on yesterday’s logic, they keep moving with uncertainty.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance
The consequence is that more people than ever –not just Generation Z – are looking for meaning:
- How can I contribute to a livable world (for my children)?
- What is the role of my professional environment in all of this?
- How do I want to operate in a company?
- To what extent can I be my whole self?
- Who am I, really?
This introspective movement leads to many questions. Moreover, the idea of ‘I’ becomes very brittle when people start to discover that we are actually interconnected instead of separate entities. When people stop listening to different ‘I-voices’ they may start hearing their hearts. It should therefore not surprise us that more people are ‘turning inward’ and becoming more aware of the ‘collective’!
Of course the human dimension impacts the business world
What about companies?
In Taoism Yin (receptive) and Yang (active) cycles are believed to constitute a natural movement counterbalancing the primary chaos of the universe, forming into objects and lives. They seem to be opposites but are actually complementary in the natural world.
If companies were considered as living systems with real people, then we would be more disposed to infuse Yin into Yang-dominant businesses … and this without losing the Yang!
Personal development is hotter than ever. Many of us explore mindful ways to find silence amid the noise and tap into a ‘greater’ potential: meditation, vision quests, bodywork, yoga, …
And yet, we still notice in our environment a certain fear of sharing this perspective in the professional world: holding back for fear of being judged. As if ‘turning inward’ were compatible with ‘wearing a mask’…
You decide to what extent you show the authentic you!
But how does all of this translate to the growth of your organization?
The human dimension makes sense
At Merluno we believe that the well-being of every colleague contributes to sustainable growth. We ourselves try to embody these principles as much as possible during our project work.
For this, we pursue growth on a personal, team, company and customer level. Our challenge is to find a balanced growth: if we do not pay sufficient attention to all aspects that matter, our ‘wheel of life’ will not keep on spinning. Every two weeks, we dedicate a Friday afternoon (we call these ‘Magic Fridays’) to the economic, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual capitals of our organization.
Sometimes we pay more attention to the economic and intellectual dimension of our growth, sharing experiences and practices in project collaborations, discuss milestones and KPIs, sharpen skills, share insights by mainly focusing on mental understanding.
At other moments we nurture the emotional and spiritual dimension of growth, varying from sharing how we feel, our deeper fears (and masks), our energy enhancers and drainers, down to our core virtues and purpose. These sessions depend very much on what unfolds in the momen. Surprisingly, most ‘heated’ problems are being solved here.
The human dimension naturally contributes to growth
No, this is not a plea to start a group meditation with your team.
It is an invitation to consciously slow down and liberate time with your team, to subtly listen to the tensions that you encounter in your own and others’ growth process. For the sake of your company’s development!
- How does the growth of your company contribute to your quality of life and to the world?
- What do your colleagues tell their family and friends?
- What kind of customers do you want to work for?
Most people regret not living a life more true to themselves, but instead feeling obligated to fulfill spoken or unspoken obligations.
So why not turn things around?
What do we want to look back on, and what will people around us say about this journey? The nice thing is, everyone can contribute. How nice would it be to also transpose our personal growth to our professional environment? Too good to be true? Not at all.
Several organizations, from SMEs to corporate environments, have already embraced and experienced this principle. And yes, it implies stepping out of your comfort zone, and yes it involves recognizing that your ego tries to protect you. But what a genuine pleasure it is to connect as authentic human beings!
Ready to discover your potential for growth?