The Dance of People and the Bottom Line

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I had a conversation with someone who in the past I hadn’t really had an engaging connection with. He is a top executive in a European bank and it always seemed to me his world and values and mine were just too different. However this past lovely Sunday afternoon sitting in the back garden of a friends house I found myself chatting with the banker again.

As he was talking about the finance industry that he has spent 20 plus years in, I became intrigued by what is it like to be a caring human in a banking industry that is so driven and focused on financial gains? I’ve suffered my fair share of seemingly uncaring banking experiences, whether it is trying to simply open an account or take out a mortgage. And as he talked about the pressure of delivering to ever increasing profit targets I felt compassion for what it may be like to be people in such an industry?

And I got intrigued what is really supportive of human hearts and minds in such a seemingly numbers oriented culture? When staff and leaders are caught in the bind of wanting to support people and values and are yet compensated almost soley for delivering the bottom line?

We ended up talking about what he most loves about his work and it was the one to one people connections with clients. So a question can be how to bring more of this area of his own genius into his work with the board that is so focused on the financials? Is there a way to have a deeper conversation about how can we have human needs and financial needs be a more creative dynamic? How can we bring more systemic support for the development of staff and creativity that could make for a more sustainable and even profitable future?

I realized two things from this conversation. One, we are all people who want to feel valued and to express the things that we really care about. Two, that the conversation about how to bring together human and organization development are an imperative part of the sustainable futures for organizations.

Where do you find yourself in aspects of your life marginalized from what you really care about and the things that matter? How could you bring just a bit more of your deeper loves and passion to these arenas?

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