“It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.” John Adams (1735–1826)
And so, this is how the tradition of celebrating our countries independence from tyranny began. Celebrations are awesome, I love them. Time to party, spend time with those closest to you as well as total strangers sometimes, a reason to congregate in community. It has become more apparent each year that so many of our holiday celebrations are about the party, driven by retailers to boost the economy. So many complain, yet we continue to willingly participate. My question is how often we actually stop to think about what it is we are honoring through our celebration. So this year, I decided to be curious about the holidays we celebrate and get back in touch with their purpose. For the 4th of July I decided I would read the Declaration of Independence.
As I was focusing on the words, both in factual meaning and in spirit, I began to wonder about what our forefathers went through to establish the Independence we all enjoy today. Essentially, they were signing a death warrant. They knew King George wouldn’t take this lying down and that a forceful British military presence would be upon them at some point and they did it anyway. Why? Because they had had enough of tyranny, because they believed in their rights and were not only willing enough but courageous enough to do what they needed to do. That lead me to consider how our lack of truly honoring the meaning of our holidays plays into the craziness of our world today, both business and personal.
How you may ask? A recent Gallup pole showed that 90% of employees in our country are dissatisfied with their jobs. That is a very tough number to wrap your mind around. The reasons are many, but here is how this relates to what we celebrate on July 4th. Scientific Research now proves that one’s ability to be Emotionally Intelligent (EQ) is more important than ones ability to be Intellectually Intelligent (IQ). Emotional Intelligence is now in its third generation. Basically emotional intelligence is social and emotional learning. It is about those “not to be spoken word in business…emotions and feelings.”
Emotional Intelligence is defined as having the ability to understand not only ones own emotions, but those of others as well. It includes the ability to identify emotions, be aware of them and apply them when solving problems and making decisions. It is learning how to regulate your own emotions and avoid having the highest of highs and lowest of lows as well as recognizing them in others. This ability is what great leaders demonstrate. They tend to be successful leaders who make a difference because they know how to bring out the best in those around them. When people feel acknowledged, understood and respected they feel happier, have more energy and focus. When they feel involved they have a vested interest in the success for the whole, and become better employs and people as a result of being emotionally fulfilled.
The decade of the 90’s was the decade of discovery and exploration in this field. The 2000’s brought about research, business cases and neuroscience. Now in the 2010’s it’s about application. It is now being used as preschool for MBA programs, in big businesses such as Microsoft, IBM, Amazon and others. A wonderful thing that is happening right now is the development of different types of learning for many different audiences.
Okay, you are probably still having a hard time figuring out what any of this has to do with the 4th of July and our forefathers. Here is the bottom line. It has never been okay in business to talk about emotions or feelings. No, no, let’s not go there because if we do we may have to make decisions that are not only about profit. If we have to consider how people “feel”, we will never make as much as we need to. We must disassociate from this, in other words, if we don’t acknowledge emotions and feelings, then they don’t exist.
And, I ask you, where has that gotten us? It has gotten us to 90% of our employees being dissatisfied. It is now scientifically proven that happy employees improve productivity; improve the bottom line, which increases profits for everyone. It provides liberty and freedom to pursue our God given rights equally. And, it takes huge amounts of courage, fortitude and willingness to stand up for bringing humanness back to the workplace. As far as I know, humans are still the major part of our workforce.
I admire the spirit of our forefathers currently being demonstrated by the early adopters, researchers and the companies slowly coming on board. They are able to be open to new ways of thinking, yet cautious by learning and immersing and fearless in their courage to apply what they have learned. This is what our forefathers did and I encourage everyone to be at least open to the possibilities.
As our friend Ben Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Here’s to the leaders in our business community willing to be courageous so we all succeed together.