Should You Focus on “Elevating the Human Experience”?


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Elevating the Human Experience

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Which of these quotes best describes your attitude toward work?

“If it was supposed to be fun, they wouldn’t call it work.” 


“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. ” ? James A. Michener

Maybe a better question is – how do you want your team, your employees, and maybe your customers to feel about working with you?

Elevating the Human Experience: Three Paths to Love and Worth at Work” by Amelia Dunlop seeks to understand what workers want from work. I received a review copy recently and, I have to admit, I had a conflicted reaction and lots of questions.  

At first glance, I was dubious. Who wouldn’t be after hearing things like “People are our greatest asset” or “We value Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership”  only to go to work and experience something more akin to “I pay you to show up and make me money.”

Then, as I started reading, I became curious.  And, I encourage you to do the same. What saved this book for me was that it was based on a research study Dunlop did with 6,000 people in the United States.

Amelia Dunlop Takes The Human Experience Mainstream

Author Amelia Dunlop is the Chief Experience Officer at Deloitte Digital and U.S. Customer Strategy and Applied Design Leader. She helps organizations develop winning strategies that combine design, creativity and strategy.

“As marketers,” She says “we have an opportunity to create more human experiences—earning long-term loyalty and trust in the process.” And this is the center of her work as she leads a team who use human-centered design and insight strategies to focus on the human experience instead of just customer experience. 

It helps to know that Dunlop studied theology and then worked in management consulting for a firm that highly valued “moral purpose” 

Does Elevating People Elevate the Bottom Line?

Studies show that when employees’ needs are met, profitability can soar. For example, a 2020 Gallup survey found that companies with engaged employees can see profitability increase by 23%.”

gallup customer engagement results 2021

In the “Foundation” section of the book, Dunlop reviews the five distortions of work.  These are the behaviors that have gotten in the way of work serving as a path to self actualization.  They include:

  • Separating humanity from labor. In our quest to manage employees, we’ve replaced names with numbers and efficient transactions over relationships.
  • Prizing head over heart. We value profitable performance over human engagement. For example, promoting people who get results in inhuman ways.
  • Work takes over our lives instead of being a part of life. We reward and set expectations that employees and vendors are “always on”.
  • Same work being valued differently based on who is doing it. We still have a long way to go in equally paying employees by skill, contribution and task rather than gender and race.

Elevating the Human Experience Empowers the Individual

It’s no surprise that happy and engaged employees generate higher profits and productivity.  And, of course, leaders are responsible for creating systems and cultures that engage employees.

But here’s where “Elevating the Human Experience” is a little bit different.  It’s not necessarily written for the leader.  It’s written for the individual.  Instead of focusing on the people, systems and organizations you cannot change, Dunlop shows you how to lead yourself and elevate those around you.

She does this by giving the reader three paths:

The First Path is an inward one where you first learn to love yourself and recognize your own worth. This is the entrepreneurial path. 

The Second Path is recognising the worthiness of another.  In this journey, you’re shifting the focus from yourself to another person in your life. I see this as more of a journey of working for another person; maybe a boss or a client.  

The Third Path is learning to recognize and love the people you work with every day.  While this can easily apply to a business owner or leader, it can also apply to a small business owner or team member.

Dunlop calls these paths, but I tend to visualize them more as a ripple effect you might get as you throw stone into a pond.  

What You’ll Appreciate About “Elevating the Human Experience

“Elevating the human experience is about acknowledging intrinsic worth as a human and nurturing growth through love.”

If you’re one of these people who has been frustrated by observing the futility of managing businesses from a more human perspective, you will appreciate this book.

First, it’s founded on solid research that is expertly illustrated throughout the book.

percentage of people who are talked-over at work from elevating the human experience book

As you can see by this image from the book, the illustrations appear to be hand-drawn, giving them that very warm and human touch.  Another benefit is that you’ll find yourself seeing how your responses might compare to the data.

Elevating the Human Experience” will show you how to empower yourself no matter what your role is in business; entrepreneur, employee, or owner. You can read the book from front to back, or you can select the specific path that you’re on and focus on that section. 

No matter which path you choose to explore, expect to be uncomfortable.  You might be uncomfortable because you’re not used to seeing the word “Love” dropped so freely in the workplace.  Or, you might be uncomfortable because you’ll be confronted with how little “love” there is in your work environment.

Wherever you see yourself in the journey toward a more human workplace,, you’ll insights, strategies, and ways to find yourself in the world of work.

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Image: amazon

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

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