February 22, 2018

Organizational performance – it’s all down to “the human condition” in the end, isn’t it?

“Isn’t it just the human condition?” my friend remarked. We were discussing the difficulty of getting organizations to understand the problems they face and our reluctance as leaders to accept that we may be causing our own difficulties.

“Yes” I replied, welcoming the agreement that complex management and leadership issues can be understood from a human and, in some ways, simpler if deeper perspective.

An unsaid “Not much we can do about that then” filled the silence.

Wait a minute though…

What really is meant by “the human condition?”

According to Wikipedia… it “encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context; the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not connected to gender, race, class, etc. — a search for purpose, sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, fear of death, etc.”

What are the benefits of seeing the link to organizations?

Recognizing the link through the human character of leadership opens up a route to solving issues by working on our “human condition” – a complement to our usual left-brain, analytical, “professional” approach. There are ways to do that and they can produce quick results.

What if we notice the “nominalization” in the phrase itself?

Linguistics people would notice that “the human condition” is an abstract noun referring to on-going activity describable with verbs e.g. blaming others for our problems to protect our ego.

That in turn is a signpost to growth…

If we put problems down to “the human condition,” thinking “not much we can do about that then,” we disempower ourselves and miss that we can develop human wisdom in ourselves and others, and so improve results. Identifying the on-going processes in “the human condition” will help us influence them, and not be their victim.

Are you a victim of the human condition? You could be a master of it instead.

Is expertise in “the human condition” a vital part of leadership?