From a quantum mechanics perspective we know that our relationship with reality is not only reciprocally interdependent but that we are also creators of our reality. Moreover reality is not just physical, it is also non-physical, non-material (i.e. metaphysical).
So what does this mean or imply relative to the reality of business? Most are familiar with the adage, what becomes important is what is measured. That is, people’s focus of attention aligns with what those in management measure. No wonder numerical goal setting and its associated performance management methods are common practice!
Most, viewing this dynamic through the lens of Newtonian mechanics and assuming people are inherently as we observe them, conclude that we (human beings) are indeed materially driven. What is overlooked in this view is the fact that people are (quite) adaptable to the context within which they feel they must live.
The following excerpt from It’s the EconoME, Stupid amplifies this:
Q: …But what if people are more than economically driven? What if the assumption of economic-man is false? How much more industriousness could have been realized?
S: Your questions are pure speculation, for the empirical evidence of history shows that people are indeed, by their nature, economically driven. Look what has been realized from people following their selfish passions. It must be so, for the amount of wealth created is beyond expectation. How can it be otherwise!
Q: What if, by nature, people are adaptable to the conditions within which they exist?
S: I’m sorry I don’t follow you.
Q: If a person’s behavior is influenced by his/her conditions, then creating conditions of existence that are economically focused, and subsequently observing that his/her behavior is consistent with this context would not (scientifically) prove that the individual is economically driven.
S: What are you saying?
Q: Let us say I hypothesize that people are pain-avoiding and pleasure- seeking creatures. If to prove my hypothesis, I set up the conditions such that people’s options are limited to either choosing pleasure or pain in the next moment, then it would be a mistake for me to accept my hypothesis based on my observing that people choose the course of action that delivers pleasure over that which delivers pain in the moment. You see to a large extent that conditions shape the behavior, especially when the options offered are limited.
S: What are you suggesting? Are you saying that the Divine Plan is wrong?
Q: I’m suggesting that, given the adaptability of people, restricting choices consistent with the theory and proceeding as if the evidence proves the theory, is simply bad science.
I am also saying that people are capable of more than accumulating material wealth. Human behavior is not solely dictated by—or it can’t be reduced to—the choice between seeking pleasure and avoiding pain in the moment.
S: What else is there? Even if what you say is true, the benefit of the theory to society is worth it. Look at the wealth humankind has amassed!
Q: Your question illustrates my point…
The fact that we choose to believe that we are economically driven has led us to create a reality –a life—wherein concern for the materiality of reality dominates the focus of our attention. In effect, by our single-minded pursuit of material growth we’ve shut out other possibilities, other human potentialities. Hence the argument that we must be so because it is so is a logical fallacy—it is so because that’s how we created it.
Therefore, if we want a different reality then we must actually enact it. After all our reality is a participatory reality; a reality determined to a great extent by our participation in its creation. Therefore, reality won’t change if first we don’t change our thinking about our selves! Wanting change is not sufficient; we must change our mind—changing the ideas and beliefs we hold—in order to embody the change (in reality) we desire. Hence the need for the courage of our very own leadership!
As Gandhi exclaimed, “we must be the change we wish to see in the world!” Though he wasn’t a physicist, he clearly understood that it takes a quantum leap for one’s reality to really change. Wishing and hoping, or waiting for someone else to step up, won’t make it so.