Change the World by Changing Work: A Manifesto

The average American works about nine hours a day. Over the course of a typical lifespan, that adds up to 11 years spent on the job — and for many of us it’s a lot more than that. But less than a third of working Americans feel engaged at work.

The average American works about nine hours a day. Over the course of a typical lifespan, that adds up to 11 years spent on the job—and for many of us it’s a lot more than that. But less than a third of working Americans feel engaged at work. Only 40% of employees know what their company stands for. Sixty-eight percent of employees believe businesses are not doing enough to create a sense of purpose and deliver meaningful impact.



Imagine a world in which people felt deeply connected to their work, where it drove meaning and purpose in their life; where they felt respected, empowered, and creative; where they left work every day feeling accomplished, valued, inspired, and more whole. I believe this would radically change society. I believe engaged employees create happier families, healthier communities, and stronger stewardship of our planet. I believe if we could magically remove the numbness, hostility, and apathy from work life, we would see significant reduction of the darkest traits in our society: substance abuse, domestic violence, racism, sexual exploitation, and mindless consumption. I believe there is a deep connection between the state of corporate life and the state of our society and planet.

I believe we can change the world by focusing on the world of work.






There may be many ways to change the world, but I have come to believe this is my personal vector of change. My purpose is to use the power of design to cultivate organizations where people thrive, not just to transform the work experience for individuals, but to unlock collective human potential to solve the world’s biggest, messiest challenges.

XPLANE uses design to foster people-centered* organizations equipped to courageously face the future.

*By “people,” I mean transparent, democratic, purpose-driven, authentic, collaborative, adaptive, social, creative, and connected.

I don’t just believe this is the right thing to do for the world; I believe it is the most important strategy for companies to succeed in the future. The future of organizations is being rapidly shaped by an accelerated pace of change, generational shifts, new technologies, environmental constraints, and social dynamics. I believe people-centered organizations will win in the future. They are more innovative, agile, resilient, and efficient. The opportunity is real: a 5% increase in employee engagement is linked to a 3% increase in revenue growth. People-centered organizations are disrupting the dominant logic of management science and beating out long-standing incumbents too slow to respond. The pace of turnover in the S&P500 is astounding—the companies of tomorrow do not even exist today.

Let’s design the people-centered organizations that will win the future. That’s my purpose in life and why I do the work I do. If that’s what you do too, let’s hang out. Better yet, let’s start a revolution.

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