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Courtney Kirschbaum | Give Humanity a Seat at the Table

Released Monday, 1st October 2018
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My guest today is Courtney Kirschbaum, who I had the pleasure of speaking with after her keynote address at the Georgia Society of CPAs’ Southeastern Accounting Show in Atlanta. Courtney’s keynote address was titled “The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning?” and it focuses on the idea that everything old is new again, especially when it comes to panicking about the younger generation.

This talk was first inspired by a quote from Socrates: “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Sound familiar? Because 2000 years later, some older folks are still singing this tune – and yet, things are still getting done.

“Everybody thinks that their beginning and their end are like the ultimate beginning and the end... [but] anybody who had been in business for even a short while knows that so much of what we see is just something old with a new name.”

Burnout & Karoshi

Part of Courtney’s presentation covered the idea of karoshi, which can be translated literally as “overwork death.” Both Courtney and I have seen how this affects the Japanese people first hand, and you can learn even more about it in The Washington Post’s article “Do Japanese really work themselves to death? In some cases, yes.”

The sad truth is that the work culture in Japan has led to thousands of deaths, to the point where the government is now involved – and our culture here in the U.S. isn’t so different.

“It's going to come here, I think. It might come more slowly, it might take a different form, but we are turning into a culture that is work-obsessed. Well, we've been there for a while.”

The average workweek is 47 hours now. Not only that, from 2000 to 2014, the productivity at work increased by 21.6% – but, at the same time, the remuneration only increased by 1.8%. And that is simply unsustainable.

“We abandon our humanity, and we're working people to the point where they can't take it anymore, and they leave. And I think when we make millennial a pejorative term, we're kind of doing the same thing.”

So let's all cut each other some slack, let’s learn what we can about self-care from the younger generation, and let's add a little humanity to the equation; Let’s just bring some humanity into the boardroom, into the conference room, into our meetings, into how we manage our people, and how we interact with our people.

Don't just ask, “Will it work? Is it profitable? Is it right?” – Ask, “Is it humane?”

The evidence that treating people like people isn’t just nice, but a financially viable strategy, is abundant. So do you have the guts to do it?

Learn more at courtneykirschbaum.com
Connect with Courtney: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn
Watch Courtney on YouTube
Read: "“Yes, and” Take a Negotiation Lesson from Improv Theatre"

Change Your Mindset is produced by Podcast Masters
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