The curious case of Ikigai, Maslow and restricting travel
Around 80 years ago, Abraham Maslow published the Hierarchy of Needs and 1200
years before that the concept of Ikigai was established in Japan.
Both embrace the basic need to work and identify the roots of personal happiness and
wellbeing which lead to job satisfaction and loyalty are firmly planted in being able to
develop and be the best version of ourselves.
We spend a lot / most of our time working, so it makes perfect sense that the workplace
should be enjoyable with a sense of achievement and opportunity to strive for.
“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for
something we love is called passion.” Simon Sinek
Over the last few weeks, we at Callisto Grand are hearing of an increasing number of
Global Business Services (emphasis on the Global) implementing or considering travel
We have all just endured more than two years of lockdown, now travel restrictions.
Let’s think this through.
All major companies claim they put the welfare of their employees first.
So, being in lock down at home for two years, followed by a ‘hybrid’ working model and
then compounded by not being able to make a business trip, attend a training course or
a conference is beneficial to employees?
How can any manager with local, regional or global responsibilities be effective if they
cannot personally connect with their teams? The greatest mentors I had all managed
by walking about – the simplest but most effective learning and communication
methodology, sometimes referred to as a Gemba Walk.
A survey earlier this year stated that a main objective for 2022 was to bring the SSC or
GBS “closer to the business”. This can only be achieved by GBS teams gaining
firsthand, on-site experience. This is how you build e2e understanding, important
relationships and EQ.
It is particularly frustrating because the majority of employees have grown up in a
working world where these short term, EBITDA driven decisions from on high are just
accepted as the norm.
Some view travel and other budget restrictions as a badge of honour, a noble sacrifice
for a non-specified greater good.
There are not enough baby boomers (55+) in the workplace, engaged as mentors and
consultants who can question such decisions and make a strong case advising against
and demonstrating that travel is actually beneficial on many levels.
Business travel is important. Customers want to meet their sales contacts, field
engineers and technicians. Credit / O2C must connect with sales, production lines and
customers to be fully effective at their job. Regional Managers and Directors must be
able to travel around their region. This is job satisfaction and opportunities to develop
knowledge, experience, relationships and EQ.
None of the major corporates would have grown to what they are today if the founders
elected to stay put in their original location.
We are not advocating a reckless, unlimited pot to spend but just making sweeping
decisions without considering the opportunity cost has ripple effects.
The great resignation.
I am sure, there are many researchers that can verify a direct link between this short
term, head office reactionary decision making and the so called “great resignation.”
Travel and training and the enlightenment, experience and empowerment they bring are
the pillars upon which Maslow and Ikigai sit.
Interesting how the same organizations that adopt these restrictions can justify cost,
time and resource for non-business summer recreational activities and applaud
themselves in the social networks.
Now, we all need some outdoor downtime, but we are seeing precious little knowledge
sharing about how to reduce overdues and bad debts and other urgent business
We are entering an economic turbulence that very few have experienced before. Smart
leaders will take the long-term view beyond the coming quarter end and year end and
acknowledge it is the people, the talent and only the talent that can navigate through.
(Technology is only as good as the people driving it).
We are seeing the backlash of crisis management at the airports. As the Covid impacts
unravelled, airports laid off thousands from security and baggage handing only to find
these ex-employees are not returning.
Another casualty of these restrictions are the small businesses. We have seen the
devastation in the hospitality industry and many others. Apart from employee welfare,
major companies have impressive CSR statements. Corporate SOCIAL responsibility
includes thinking of the little guy.
HR managers – please represent the Human aspect of the job title and persuade the
Finance managers to review strategies not based on a P&L statement from a remote,
home office PC.
The decision makers will be able to identify plenty of waste to remove from their
business and the lean / cost reduction opportunities themselves by taking a few trips
around their business, meeting the teams on the ground – managing by walking
The future is uncertain but fortune favours the brave.
8 August 2022
Mark Harrison is the Founder of Callisto Grand.
Callisto Grand believes passionately in the SSC model and specializes in holistic
upskilling and professional qualifications for all levels of experience in Credit/ O2C.
Mark has more than 40 years’ experience in this field, graduated through the Chartered
Institute of Credit Management and is one of a small group with an BA Honours Degree
in Credit Management from the University of West London. (The degree dissertation
was the first to research Credit / O2C in the SSC environment).
Callisto Grand are hosting the Credit Matters XI Conference “The Game Changer” in
Budapest, October 12-14.