‘Wired to Care’ @ Better By Design

‘Wired to Care’ @ Better By Design – By Jane Kennelly

A book arrived in the mail from the BBD team, pre-conference. (N.B. there is nothing as wonderful as receiving a surprise book in the mail. I love NZ Post!)

Entitled ‘Wired to Care’ and written by Dev Patnaik, Founder & CEO of Jump Associates (the name resonated well at Frog), the reading began. And what a natty read this was. From hearing about Patty Moore in Chapter One, the book was even totted to the gym and consumed whilst bike riding.

So it was with great anticipation I lined up to hear Patnaik address the Better By Design 2012 Conference: ‘Design Your Future’ – and disappoint, he did not!

Patnaik’s message was about the need for empathy in business. Or as he put it: “the ability to step outside yourself and see the world as other people do.”

Patnaik used case studies to illustrate the positive outcomes that can be achieved and the argument was compelling. Empathy + creativity + execution are what it’s all about, and not in a touchy-feely kind of way. He strongly suggests that along with a mix of intuition, gut feeling, passion, courage, and clarity, companies prosper when they reach outside themselves and connect with other people. “They open themselves up to the possibility of seeing new opportunities for growth.”

Patnaik’s message resonates strongly. For example, we at Frog we have been privileged to talk to thousands of employers and career seekers week in, week out, for the past ten years. Through these conversations we are hearing about some disconnects that need urgent attention. Employers, read on…

Fact: People care about who they work for. Their positions are personal to them. They are asked about it all the time by family and friends. They think about their work at night time. They turn up each day to actually do a great job. They enjoy recognition and a sense of belonging. They love working for people and in organisations where there is a sense of pride in the work they do. They respond to inspirational leaders. They appreciate open communication. They admire leaders who model the way and yes, know their names.

Fact: Given the skill shortages NZ faces, creating compelling work environments should be a priority for all business leaders. Right? Well, the conversations we are having with mid-level management career seekers suggest that this is not being addressed.

Yes, we are seeing positive signs coming through. For example, we work with one organisation where the CEO has only two direct reports; the CFO and GM of HR. That’s it. This NZ based global company has firmly positioned people at the top table. The development programmes in place across the world for their staff AND families see them achieve no more than 10% staff turnover annually and extraordinary growth year on year. Values are lived and breathed in this company.

“Consistent ethical behaviour demands you walk in other people shoes”

One of the outcomes for me listening to Dev Patnaik’s presentation (delivered with fervour and gusto) was a range of questions to consider:

  • How is your walking going?
  • How will you lure the most gifted and talented individuals to your business?
  • Are you committed to building a strong authentic employer brand?
  • Why is HR still not at the leadership table?
  • Do you make it easy for people?
  • Are you modelling the way?
  • How prepared are you for the future, really?
  • Are you mixing with like-minded thinkers? If not, why not?

Consider these, act on them and perhaps, as noted by Patnaik, the real payoff is a sense of purpose, a reason to come to work.


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