“It’s generally better to be an optimist. Optimists live longer, find greater fulfilment, and enjoy life more. The disturbing thing about pessimists is they are often right – the good news that they are not always right.” - Martin Seligman

As individuals we have certain expectations of organisations and 'management'. But this is a two-way street, a dynamic relationship between the constituents which are 'The Organisation'. In the past, this relationship has been dominated by unequal power distributions and privileges. The psychological contract between worker (individual) and company (the collective) have been framed in the negative - either coercive or calculative. While it is difficult, under economic, systemic and structural pressures to throw off the shackles of these dependencies it is necessary for personal health and wellbeing, for individuals to choose a positive attitude about work.

It is the view of Adaptive Learning, supported by Positive Psychologists such as world renowned Martin Seligman, that we are all capable of learning to be more optimistic, becoming more engaged with the work we do and finding 'spiritual' significance in the workplace - the ability to 'make a difference'. Easier said than done. For many this requires an extensive overhaul of our assumptions, beliefs and mental models about what work is and what is the most mutually beneficial (interdependent) relationship between worker and boss.

Bagging the bosses, playing P.E.A.Nut, complaining and maintaining a dependent or co-dependent relationship has certain illusionary appeal, but is not beneficial as a long term strategy. We seek to work closely with individuals and teams to understand their needs and motivations. We work with organisational leaders to create holistic development programs, find meaning for employees and make work significant. It is now also understood that together we can evolve positive 'containers' which enable people to succeed every day.

If we are stuck discussing rights & privileges, conditions, rewards and structures, then we are at the lowest levels Maslow's hierarchy of needs, deep in Hertzberg hygiene factors. We need to uplift the discussion to those factors which really impact on the wellbeing of individuals - engagement, empowerment, choice, accountability and ownership. It is a conversation in which individuals participate as equals and vital for sustainability & viability of organisations in the context of the 21st century world.