The Traumatic Case for Resetting Business

Becoming Superhuman

Apr 18 2022 • 8 mins

As a leader, do you believe that it is possible to fundamentally change the default culture of work?

If not, why not? If so, how do you suggest we get there?

The ultimate purpose of this blog is to give you anything and everything I can to enable you to become an unstoppable catalyst for change. One component of that is to analyze and explore heroic and lovable leadership.

Our world is currently shaped in large part by the interests of business. It shapes nearly every aspect of our culture. Therefore, changing the culture of work is central to our capacity to change the world.

We cannot change work until leaders everywhere address the elephant in the room: trauma.

Our Story

The world of business was designed — and is continually adapted — to benefit a certain small group of people. We have accepted that there will be winners and losers. Hierarchies are still the most common corporate structure. Power is consolidated at the top. Money and status flow upward. As a result, the business environment that we operate in, cultivate, or passively endorse is based on their values: control and domination. It is no accident that nearly every aspect of business has been explained through metaphors of war and conflict.

The popular narratives promoted (read: propaganda) over the last 100 years are typically about cycles of boom and bust, wars fought and won or lost, and primarily feature a specific class of people presented as winners including politicians, military generals, and those who achieve outstanding financial success in the private sector.

Yet, at the same time, talk to an individual among the general population, and we might hear an entirely different story. We might hear about layoffs, unemployment, disability, student loans, rising healthcare costs, wage stagnation, and debt. We might hear about how we treat veterans, the LGBTQ+ community, Black Americans, Asian Americans, Immigrants, and others treated as "others."

While both groups of stories may be “true,” one group is considerably more personal. Each of us internalize the stories of our time and it creates a specific lens that tints and colors our perception of the world. The more traumatic the experience, the deeper the tint and the darker the lens we look through. Collectively, there are more of us who are traumatized in some form or fashion by a world and business environment that does not prioritize us than there are those who benefit from this paradigm.

Stories Shape Behavior

Humans are driven, by instinct, to avoid pain. As social animals, we fear isolation. Some will use this to their advantage.

As a leader, once you understand this you can more easily understand and contextualize how people behave. All it requires is to ask yourself...

What is this person protecting themselves from?

Each person you interact with in business, as in life, is a collection of trauma and you get to interact with it. Lucky you! We often make the mistake of believing that people’s actions are thoughtfully and rationally considered. In truth, we’re mostly on autopilot, operating from the stories that color our perception.

Trauma @ Work

Bobby was taken advantage of in his previous jobs. He was young, inexperienced, and felt powerless to set boundaries or push back. So when his boss asked him to do things that made him uncomfortable, forced him to work uncompensated, or even handle his boss’ responsibilities, he kept quiet. Is it any wonder that, nowadays, he reacts poorly at work when asked to do something for the good of the team?

Joyce has never been onboarded properly at any company she’s worked for. She’s always had

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