My wife recently had a piece of her art work selected by Amnesty International for an exhibition in the wonderful Christchurch Priory – apparently the largest parish church in the country. Naturally, that led us to see all the other art work exhibited there and some of the remarkable stories surrounding them, including the horrors of torture and what some human beings have had to undergo at the hands of others. This got us thinking in the way these things do about how it was to have an organisation like Amnesty – and others – fighting against these dreadful forms of repression.
Indeed, when you consider them one unintended consequence is invariably the feeling that one is not really doing anything important in one’s own life; it’s just business and home, and what difference does it make? Amnesty, Greenpeace, and the others are where the action is – shouldn’t we just sell up and join them? Such would be a superficial rating of the situation as it is; for when one comes to look at things more closely, one sees that what one is doing is significant. It may not be as big as Amnesty, but in its own way it too can be transformative, which is the key thing.
How, then, does running a business like Motivational Maps become transformative? Is it because we make money, and so that feeds into the economy? Hmm, may be, but that’s not enough. Is that the lots of people are involved and are doing useful things, and that must be good? Hmm, may be, but that seems quite ordinary. Is it because everyone likes doing a Map and it makes them feel good? Hmm, but they like eating sweets too, and in the long term that isn’t so good.
No, the real significance of Motivational Maps resides in its core purpose: namely, to change the way that management works in the world. In fact the Maps can only work as a product if that occurs. What change is this? Basically, shifting management style from a top-down to a bottom-up approach. Maps insists that if you want to get the best from people you have to start where they are, and feed that. Probably, and realistically, only 20% of organisations worldwide will ever get to that advanced state, but Maps is there to help them do so.
For here’s the thing: if organisations genuinely start operating on a bottom-up approach a number of things occur. First, staff empowerment and autonomy increase. Second, confrontations are reduced and minimised through access to the shared language. And third, value differences are recognised and there is less of the square peg forced into round holes kind of mentality – and management.
In short, what the Motivational Maps project is really about is democracy and participation at the organisational level! Now is that significant or not? And bizarrely, and especially since Maps are now in twelve countries worldwide, this of course is relevant to the mistreatment and torture of others. If more and more organisations can find benefits in true democracy and participation, it makes the job of evil rulers more difficult to accomplish.
So, yes, we have a purpose: we are a fighting to promote a way of life, that is inclusive, democratic, empathic and rooted in the individual. Long live Motivational Maps!