How Industrial Revolution and Romanticism are relevant to your business

… ”[Manchester] this famous great factory town. Dark and smoky from the coal vapours, it resembles a huge forge or workshop. Work, profit and greed seem to be the only thoughts here. The clatter of the cotton mills and the looms can be heard everywhere … ” Johanna Schopenhauer, Sämmtliche Schriften, Frankfurt, (1830)

The “Dark satanic mills” of Blake’s poem Jerusalem “seemed to swallow people up and spit them out broken and mangled.”

Is this when we lost our connection with nature and recognition that we too are part nature and the environment?  And what we chose to create consciously or unconsciously is still all nature.

In response to the industrial a revolution the Romantic Movement emerged, an intellectual and artistic hostility towards the new industrialisation! It revered the traditionalism of rural life and recoiled against the upheavals caused by industrialisation, urbanisation.  Blake was one of the movements major exponents. The movement stressed the importance of “nature” in art and language, in contrast to “monstrous” machines and factories that created a self destruction of nature and human relationships.

As clinicians and business owners we know how precious human relationships with our clients and for our clients.  But do we remember to pay the same attention to ourselves?  Do we work endlessly for profit when our partners and children request our time attention and love rather than a sports car or a bigger house?

Are we imposing on ourselves the same working conditions that the majority of textile factory workers during the Industrial Revolution endureed? They typically worked for 12 to 14 hours per day with only Sundays off… is that you?

Lack of adequate transportation, long hours and poor pay made it difficult to recruit and maintain workers. Many workers, such as displaced farmers and agricultural workers, who had nothing but their labour to sell, became factory workers out of necessity.

The economy’s overall productive powers was unprecedented during the Industrial Revolution and as well as a working class it created a middle class of businessmen, clerks, foremen and engineers with much better working conditions.

As clinician do some days feel like a mill worker?  Working long long hours? With only  your labour to sell… rather than professionalism?

Are you at the mercy of referrals by third party funders who drive down price and the quality of service you offer?  Have you chosen to put yourself at the mercy of profit maximisation, resource efficiency and linear thinking… if this is your business is it sustainable?  Is this what you want?  Is this what you have chosen?

And how about your team are you expecting them to sit in the clinic working long hours with unfavourable employment conditions?  You have chosen to set up your own clinic, but perhaps you are sitting on the fence and not prepared to take on the full responsibility of being a business owner and employer?  Is that fair to you, your family, your team, your clients, community and profession?

Physiotherapy is an art and science, making it a natural fit that we strive for balance and  incorporate some of the ideas of the Romantic’s.  We can take a lead in the world recognising there is an alternative of way of working.  We are just a step away from respecting that we too are part of nature. We know and can recall many examples where nature has processes for operating which are reliable and predictable, finding simple solutions to complex problems.

If we reconnect ourselves, our teams and our businesses to the rhythms and processes of nature we have the opportunity to not only see the anatomy and physiology in our business but to apply and trust the processes we know work in environment and in our own body every single day with every heartbeat and single breath.

See, trust and create the simple elegance I call the Biology of Business.

Kate Markland

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