Foundational and Fundamental
Here are four examples of fundamental beliefs about work and people. In my work with clients, I treat them as axioms.
Work is meaningful. It gives meaning to people’s lives. For many of my clients, meaning comes from three things.
- Developing oneself.
- Creating something excellent.
- Contributing to other people.
People are not a means to an end but ends in themselves. Reducing people to a role in a process dehumanizes them. People are not just tools to complete a goal. Indeed we need to honor the roles that people play; the goal is to approach each other as fellow human beings as ends in themselves.
Individuals and communities naturally develop. People thought that development ended with adulthood. We now know that adults continue to develop if they choose to. Business structures and practices need to create conditions that, through ‘generative tension,’ pull people into greater complexity and wholeness.
Pursuing profitability and human growth emerge into one thing. The two are part of a greater whole, not two things to be traded off or dual elements of a “double bottom line.”
These beliefs create a common language and rally cry for a company’s bedrock principles. In the real world, you don’t have to believe that the axioms are absolute, but you have to act in accordance with them to have a workplace where people feel joined together as a community.
Then they become both fundamental and foundational.