In all of the recent business press, from low tech newspaper to high tech apps on your latest I-phone or Blackberry, there is a constant barrage of "what the problem is with restarting the economies in North America". While ones political orientation suggests different issues, from too much taxation to tax the rich more, there is a common cause which all of the pundits harp on and that is not enough productivity gains and in some reports, a loss of productivity.
There are many suggestions as to the why, which again seem to range according to the opinion givers paradigm, from not enough capital investment to the unions being inflexible, but everyone agrees we need to be more productive in order to rebuild our collective fortunes. In Jim Collin's book "Good To Great" there are several nuggets of gold, my favourite being "it used to be important to have the right people on the bus. Now it is more important to have the right people in the right seats on the bus." For this issue of productivity, Collins perspective on the best leaders, who take their business from good to great, are leaders who enable or empower those around them to build out their areas of the business development - quality people who further the growth of the enterprise.
Productivity becomes organic as it continues to grow. If we assume that the decrease in jobs in the past recession implies business owners kept all their quality people and laid off those of less depth, then why are we still lagging in productivity growth as we move forward in the recovery phase? The answer may be very simple. It does not matter how great your employees are if there is an event which robs them of their creativity, robs them of their sleep, decimates their confidence, and interrupts their focus. That event is divorce.
Each of us has seen the changes in attitude of friends family or co-workers when love dies. Hope becomes despair, the glass is always half empty instead of half full with anger and thoughts of getting even dominate their conversation. The occasional mention of the partners imperfections, which used to be told with humour, are now a litany of hateful transgressions which seem so morally reprehensible one wonders how they were lived within the past. This negative vitriol pervades not only the waking moments, but reduces sleep time as well, so these employees are not only angry and in a negative place, they are sleepless and not able to be productive at work.
Just when you think you have your employee back and the flareups have ended, the rebound romance starts and these mature individuals, on whom you depend, start acting emotionally like teenagers again. If one plus one always equals two, then here are some truths which always add up as well.
All humans are wired emotionally and mentally to desire one partner to share their life with. This family is the core of our society and shapes the majority of our decisions. When the relationship is great we increase our productivity because it is our desire to provide more to the family. When the relationship becomes mediocre and withers other thoughts and negative emotions intrude and our productivity diminishes. It is therefore in the best interests of business to promote healthy, loving, family relationships in their workforce so not only are they increasing the productivity of their employees, they are growing their potential customer base to buy their product.