The money trap

They say you need two things in life; love and meaning. As long as you have someone to love and something meaningful to do the rest will follow.
Companies on the contrary, need only one thing to live well; money.

Since most people spend a lot of their time working for companies and most companies need this to make money, the art of money-making should provide love or meaning. But reality as we all know is rather the opposite, a mind-blowing conflict! 84% of americans want to find a new job.

If eight out of ten want to quit, I’d say they get nothing more than money from work (as in the only reason to stay). And if money is all they get, more money is all they will ask for. In the end, unhappy imprisoned people and struggling companies; a loose-loose situation.

You might think I’m wrong, that money is more than a substitute. Some think money is a (THE) great motivator, just watch the ”money market”… But studies clearly show the opposite, when work calls for cognitive skills more money means poorer results(!)

Pay the boy who loves to fish and he’s a fisherman
How do we find love and meaning? What learnings from one is applicable on the other? (How) does it work when money gets involved? What synergies or insights may be of importance to involve money?

Love and meaning are emotional (we can’t define it), personal (different to everyone) and not transferable (I can’t give you mine even if I wanted to. And you can’t call me greedy if I have plenty without sharing). Money on the other hand is rational, universal and transferable.

We look for love in someone, and meaning in something, a task. We do it without getting paid, or rather we are happy to pay for searching; we spend money (and lots of time) on dating people, testing hobbies and activities, studying etc.

In school we try to find suitable subjects by following our interests and skills. A great feeling of passion and curiosity is often with us all the way through job training and internship. This is when we are living our dream and if only someone would pay us the world would be perfect, but then someone does and everything changes. Mondays get dull, the boss is mean and… 84% of americans want to find a new job…

Human needs will stay the same so I think the solution is obvious, it must come from a transformation of business thinking and management. As long as we keep measuring and evaluating business with money characteristics we will continue on the lose-lose-path.

Maybe business managers who think motivated employees is the greatest corporate asset for success can benchmark with nonprofit organizations!? Don’t misread me now, I only suggest that they obviously have something attractive since people join – and stay – without pay.

If you don’t think nonprofit as concept is applicable in business have a look at companies with satisfied employees; These employees rarely claim wages as reason to why they love work.

When we start shaping business to give people love and meaning the black bottom line will follow. So, do what you love and money will follow. And don’t love money because money won’t love you back.

That’s my belief, please share yours!
Or have a look at Simon Sinek in a great speech about leadership


Comments are closed.