For the record, let it be known – Mushrooms have always fascinated me. Everything, ranging from its shape, its smell, how it sprouts so quickly and more over about where it grows. Today mushrooms are even considered miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen having unique properties that improves our health.
However, out of the total species of mushrooms:
In fact it is so difficult to identify the good from the bad one that quite often it’s said that,
“If only one could tell true love from false love as one can tell mushrooms from toadstools”
This article is about the analogy between the “Mushroom Environment” (where mushrooms grows) and the overall “Corporate Work Environment”
If we take a closer look at the environment mushrooms grows in naturally, we will notice that they pop out in a certain environment. Typically, out of composites made of animal manure, a place having has less sunlight, moist, with lots of humid air all around. This is the kind of environment that is not too favorable for the growth of different kinds of green vegetation or most of the fruits that are generally liked and demanded by people.
Even the mushroom that grows out in this environment can be of any kind, and looking at the statistics above, the probability of a productive “tasty and excellent” mushroom is just 1 out of 25.
Now let’s take this analogy of the environment to the corporate level.
If we take a look at the big MNCs that have survived the test of time i.e. that have been there for decades and some even for centuries, we will see a lot of things in common, that contribute to creating a positive work environment. To name a few – work conditions are generally motivating, reasonable job security exists, there is equality & non-racist environment, work life balance, personal health, even physical amenities like light, ventilation, air conditioning etc. everything put together largely contributes to the overall positive work environment.
If we zoom out a little on this we will see that the favorable work environment has two major elements:
For companies who have survived and have been successful for decades, we will notice that either they have a perfect harmony between these two elements or at least they are intent on trying to achieve it. To achieve a perfect balance is obviously not like a walk in the park but what’s more important is the word “intent”; are we able to promise or at least able to show that we are trying for it sincerely!
Humans or even any other animal are designed in a way, so as to take care of themselves first. Looking through the lens of Maslow’s hierarchy, It’s natural to be cut off, inconsiderate, be unhappy, or sometimes even be aggressive or violent when the hierarchy of needs are not met satisfactorily.
When the work environment is positive, i.e when the physiological and safety needs are met, it’s generally seen that employees are happy and comfortable. Hence, they are able to give in their 100% or even more to the organization. It is when they are assured that the company is thinking about them and they don’t have to worry about their own well-being, they start concentrating on their core job and their KPIs. In a jungle’s vegetative environment, this is the stage when fresh green vegetation and plants that bear colorful fruits starts flourishing.
Companies need to remember that it’s the basic law of nature that if we want to reap fruits with nutrients, we need to provide a nutritive environment that helps nurture the saplings first. And if we provide dark, humid, dingy environment with composites as the base instead of soil, we can only expect mushrooms. And as mentioned earlier the probability of it being productive (tasty to excellent) is 1 out of 25.
Hence, “If we provide Mushroom Environment we get mushrooms!”
But can a company survive with this 1:25 ratio? – history tells us otherwise. What kind of environment does your organization provide? Do join the conversation!