Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On Improving The Human Condition

Recently I spent a couple of weeks at one of my favorite places on the planet. As with most of us, being somewhere else offers opportunity for reflection. It is not unusual that my mind wanders to issues of purpose. Everyone would like to think that their engagement is important, whether it be with family, friends, community, or career.

For me, and the people I work with, our importance will be measured by our influence on the human condition. As employees, are we better, faster, and stronger? Are we more effective today than yesterday? Have we learned anything new that we can share that may improve the lives of others? When we engage with others, are they better off as a result of our connection? Is that person better prepared for life? Can I say when I hang up the phone that the person on the other end understood the information I shared, or that my questions were clear?

Delivering quality service is good enough if your purpose is to simply fulfill a contract, such as building a house, installing cable, or repairing a road. In the world of human services it is possible to be a very good provider of services, and for the moment, that might be good enough. But as we know, this is short lived. Look around - automobiles are very different from yesterday and product lines have fallen by the wayside. When was the last time you saw a Plymouth or Oldsmobile?

1949 Plymouth

1934 Oldsmobile
Or think of the many ways communication has changed in a few short years. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were amazed by the introduction of a mobile phone? Now we can’t live without them. Where on earth did I leave my iPod, anyway?

My colleagues and I will be part of an effort to find new and better ways to do things. We will hold ourselves accountable to not only improve the human condition, but to introduce concepts, models, and practices that will do more with less, and to surprise the end-users with results that never entered their minds.

Then again, what do I know?

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