The blog post from the previous week began setting the stage that the global population is facing too many challenges that require alternative solutions to current business practices. In particular, an approach is evolving for using the manufacturing sector as an industry that can undo the harmful environmental and social practices of the past, and instead, be a catalyst in creating a better planet on which the world's citizens must live, at least at the moment. Last week the blog post shared the first five of the ten humanist commitments. This week we will explore the remaining five.
As a recap, the first five humanist commitments are:
1. Altruism – "I will help others in need without hoping for rewards."
2. Critical Thinking – "I will practice good judgment by asking questions and thinking for myself."
3. Empathy – "I will consider other people's thoughts, feelings, and experiences."
4. Environmentalism – "I will take care of the Earth and the life on it."
5. Ethical Development - "I will always focus on becoming a better person."
The balance of the ten are:
6. Global Awareness – "I will be a good neighbor to the people who share the Earth with me and help make the world a better place for everyone." - As a child, I knew little beyond roughly a twenty-mile radius of the farm that was my home. Yet, reflecting on the earlier information last week, forty percent of the world population lives on $5.50 or less per day, which requires us to develop better opportunities for our global citizens to experience healthy and dignified lives.
7. Humility – "I will be aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of others." – The self-aware recognize their opportunity to contribute value to a work environment and where others bring different strengths to the group. Understanding that we are neither better nor worse than our coworkers allows the opportunity to express gratitude for the various roles that each member contributes to the organization.
8. Peace and Social Justice – "I will help people solve problems and handle disagreements in ways that are fair for everyone." – To maintain a just work environment, we need to eradicate any level of injustice that is occurring to our internal and external stakeholders. We need to build a fair and equitable society for all individuals impacted by our business operations. The work needs to attain peace through effective and efficient conflict resolution, leading to restorative justice when harm occurs to individuals or groups.
9. Responsibility - "I will be a good person—even when no one is looking—and own the consequences of my actions." – We must be willing to make the right choices regardless of the outcome and be ready to be accountable when we have made mistakes. While what others believe is right and wrong aligns with various codes of conduct, cultural values, expectations, and social mores, it is essential to clarify what is right and wrong for the specific organization. Furthermore, to create an environment of caring and trust that allows community members to come forward to work through issues that fall in the fuzzy area between clear right and wrong.
10. Service and Participation - "I will help my community in ways that let me get to know the people I'm helping." – The approach taken to creating a better community should build on the previous nine commitments that add additional social awareness of the neighborhoods in which we operate. We can then use our unique capabilities to create thriving in the internal and external circles of influence.
I imagined a vision for the manufacturing industry to invite those typically ignored as viable partners to participate as engaged stakeholders. Considering what that might mean led to the following vision statement:
"The manufacturing industry allows each citizen of the world an opportunity to meet at a minimum their needs for just and healthy lives, with a full opportunity to achieve their highest potential."
As the manufacturing industry faces many challenges, it will require a revised way of managing plant operations to draw our younger generations to this employment opportunity.
If you can't explain it simply, you don't explain it well enough. - Albert Einstein
I will begin the process of working to explain humanist manufacturing well. As I worked at how to integrate these humanist commitments into a manufacturing framework, I first developed the following definition:
"Humanist manufacturing focuses on the importance of integrated growth and self-actualization of a production operation's internal and external stakeholders. The objective is to establish an environment focused on strengths that promote upward spirals toward optimal individual and organizational performance. The work occurs in a positive whole system setting that compels the natural human tendency of innate good to motivate the organization's members to do well financially while generating positive environmental and social impacts."
While a work in progress, it is a starting point to work from to improve the humanist manufacturing framework further.
I am confident through my own experience, my academic research, and the success of many companies using elements of this approach that committing to the humanist commitment lens will:
• Attract & retain talented employees seeking jobs that allow them to reach their full potential while working for a company with similar values to their own.
• Engage & empower all stakeholders that see the significant gains achieved by organizations with a transformational vision.
• Delight customers who feel good about engaging with a humanist company while being cared for by highly engaged employees.
• Lead to efficient & effective operations as the workforce commits to achieving the compelling "Why" for the company's existence.
• Increase profitability where doing the right thing to improve your company's environmental and social impacts will also enhance financial results.
• Expand the positive impact within the walls of your organization, the greater community, and collectively the world.
These outcomes will benefit all internal and external stakeholders of the organization.
Individuals facing difficulties in addressing the many challenges faced by the industry may want to revisit current practices. I would encourage them to talk with young people to ask what interests them and motivates them to join their plant operations. The answers might reveal workable insights that can help to improve the opportunity to reinvigorate interest in working in manufacturing.
I appreciate those that are willing to step outside their comfort zones and try something different. I welcome a conversation with anyone interested in exploring the humanist manufacturing framework.
Next week's blog will integrate humanist principles into the "Why" of an organization.
To learn more about our work or to read more blog posts, visit emmanuelstrategicsustainability.com.
Cover Image Credit: Alex Hoces from Pexels