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This book is based on a simple premise: employees who find meaning at work will have a better work experience that will translate into improved performance, more satisfied customers, and more profitable companies. Whether the biggest challenges of the day are debt and recession or growth and innovation, whether work conditions are abysmal or glamorous, people who find a why in their work can work with almost any how to not only survive, but thrive.
Making meaning is an important cause and lead indicator of long term organizational success. “Intangibles” explain about 50% of the market value of publicly traded firms. Intangibles are the assets and capabilities of a company that cannot be touched or put on a balance sheet, but that give investors confidence in the future earnings of the company. Intangibles include “non-things” like leadership, talent, innovation, skill, and vision. Investors value these intangible organizational capabilities because they help companies thrive.
The Abundant Organization
In this book we refer to companies that are meaningful as “abundant organizations.” An abundant organization is a work setting in which individuals coordinate their aspirations and actions to create meaning for themselves, value for stakeholders, and hope for humanity at large. An abundant organization is one that has enough and to spare of the things that matter most: creativity, hope, resilience, determination, resourcefulness, leadership.
Abundant organizations are profitable organizations, but rather than focusing only on assumptions of competition and scarcity, abundant organizations also focus on opportunity and synergy. Rather than focusing on the fear-based breakdown of meaning in hard times, abundant organizations focus on bringing order, integrity, and purpose out of chaos and disintegration. Rather than focusing on narrow, self-serving agendas, abundant organizations integrate a diversity of human needs, experiences, and timetables.