Seth Godin defines sheepwalking as "the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them brain-dead jobs and enough fear to keep them in line." These are the people who don't question their purpose at work, who color inside the lines, and are compliant with managers who lead by fear.
"The fault doesn't lie with the employee, at least not at first," says Godin in his book Tribes.
But what happens when you instead build or work for an organization that treats people with respect and trust? Simply put, "when you hire amazing people and give them freedom, they do amazing stuff," explains Godin.
A simple test for sheepwalking
Godin says that a thermostat is far more valuable than a thermometer. Here's the difference:
How to escape sheepwalking
Godin outlines a three-step process for stopping sheepwalking:
"Think for a second about the people you know who are engaged, satisfied, eager to get to work. Most of them, I bet, make change. They challenge the status quo and push something forward—something they believe in. They lead," says Godin. "You don't have enough time to be both unhappy and mediocre. It's not just pointless—it's painful. Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to setup a life you don't need to escape from."
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