Discuss the future of work over a cold beer
Those thoughts were consolidated into what economists call the Von Neumann–Morgenstern expected utility theory. According to this, we always act to maximize utility based on the assumptions that we are always rational, have total self-control and always act in our interest. They say we operate with rationality, self-control and self-interest. But, our daily experiences tell us otherwise.
Our risk preferences are irrationally inconsistent. We are risk-seeking with lotteries, while we are risk-averse with insurance, despite facing similar risk probabilities. We don’t like insurance risk because we frame it as a loss. We like lottery risk because we frame it as a gain. We dislike a loss more than we like a gain of the same size.
We prefer one cookie now more than two cookies next week, which shows present bias and inconsistent discounting. Our discount rates increase closer to the present.
We have more self-control in the future. We find it easier to lose weight one year from now than today.
We go out of our way to help others. We have kids even if we know that, like us, they will be more than a decade’s source of sleepless nights and stressful bothers. We are self-giving and do stupid things like fall in love and marry even if we know that odds of success are six out of 10.
Unfortunately, these have spilt over to our management practices. We manage people as if they are entirely rational, always in control of themselves and do everything only out of self-interest.
We dangle a carrot and expect people to do the work we want. Then, we dangle more carrots to push people for more work. We continue until they break or have the wisdom to quit early enough. We hire with a bias for men in senior management positions when their rationality doesn’t account for the cognitive diversity that comes from women’s lived experiences. We think mental health in the workplace is for the weak; the self-interested use of plastic is free, or working less than 12 hours a day is for underperformers.
“Quiet quitting” is one spillover of traditional mindsets, motivations and management practices. It is a catchy rebranding of disengagement at work, which arises from the imbalance of priorities. Quiet quitting isn’t always a bad thing though. It is when it signals a lack of commitment, not when it is an attempt to bring balance into life through compartmentalized disengagement.
We should start questioning the beliefs we anchor our management practices on and challenge the naïve and polarized simplification of binary fixes. Let’s open up to more diverse and nuanced thinking to address the complex imbalance. Let’s design a workplace where that balance can freely come to life.
Next-generation leaders, this is your time to step up. Shape the future of work by joining the conversation on the generational shift of mindsets, motivations and management. Build bridges that build business through our reciprocity wall and speed networking.
Join us at the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) NextGen CEO Conference on “The Generational Shift: Mindsets, Motivations, Management” on Nov. 11, Friday, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the ColLab space of Sheraton Hotel, Newport World.
Discuss, network and share. Drinks are on us. Email [email protected] for details. INQ The author chairs the MAP NextGen Committee organizing the 3rd MAP NextGen Conference. He is a behavioral strategist, tech entrepreneur and author. Feedback via [email protected] and [email protected]
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