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Maximising Human Potential: an Organisation’s Dilemma.

Rohan Carr, IRC Australia | Jan. 30, 2017

At the last IRC Global Conference, Mr Jan Muehlfeit, former Chairman Europe of Microsoft Corporation, discussed the challenges faced by organisations in maximising human potential. These challenges stand in the way of unlocking true people capability. Such capability is vital as organisations are increasingly seeking to be innovative and smarter in the way they do things.

So why do organisation’s struggle in this area?  Muehlfeit suggests that there are four important reasons, which need to be overcome:

  1. Organisations instinctively focus on correcting weaknesses in their employees rather than giving priority to leveraging strengths. Muehlfeit contends that people will always have weaknesses and while they should not be ignored, strengths should be the focus of greatest development as they provide maximum organisational benefit.
  2. Organisations tend to first formulate a plan, which they communicate to people (i.e. what and how they will do something), rather than focusing on the mission; that is the ‘why’. True employee engagement comes when people are inspired by a vision not merely following a plan.
  3. Organisations try to manage people’s time rather than managing energy. Muehlfeit argues that there is a need for greater focus on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual of people. Technology can also be a big distractor in terms of employees’ capacity to focus on the present.
  4. Organisations focus first on success rather than the experience on the way to success. It might sound trite but to unlock full human potential, individuals should be encouraged to enjoy the entire journey not just the end success.
  5. Muehlfeit notes: “According to Gallup, only 20 percent of people enjoy working in their current job, others go to work just to earn money”.  Hence, organisations really only operate on 20 percent of their true potential.  However, if organisations manage, motive and inspire their employees in a more positive and proactive way, then it is possible to change this and deliver transformative results.

Mr Jan Meuhlfeit is the author of the book “The Positive Leader: How Energy and Happiness Fuel Top-Performing Teams”. It has been published by Pearson in the Financial Times Series in 2016.

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