For the longest time, I’ve thought there’s a better way of looking at work.

In 2015, I left my Corporate life, sat down and wrote a book. I called it The People Equation.

The little book 

I thought the title was hugely ironical and very funny. In the world seemingly obsessed with analytics and big data, I wanted to talk about a different way of working with people.

You see, the way to work well with people, and get them working well with you, is not an equation. It’s a deeply human way of working, and if you practice, it’s much easier than mathematics.

There was good interest in my little book, and I started to imagine my life as an author. That is until I realized that all the way through The People Equation, I was proposing a different way of looking at work that, despite being very logical and perfectly aligned to what we all intuitively know to matter most, doesn’t actually exist.

An idea on a better way to look at work 

One Saturday, I woke up at 4am, and for the next four and a half hours, I wrote a business plan. Michael, my partner in everything, woke up at 8.30am, and I presented him with my plan. My exact words were “I want to build this! It’s a different way of looking at work.”

He took the plan and his breakfast and read it. He’s an engineer, an accountant, and a small business owner. He was going to pull it apart.

At 9.30am, he came back and said “Let’s Go!”. (He can be a man of few words, but the few he says are always clear).

Over lunch a few hours later he added “I have no idea why it’s not been done before. It’s awesome!”. That got me thinking. Why hadn’t this been done before? It’s taken me a long time to think that through, but now its crystal clear.

It’s because we’re coming at work all wrong, or more correctly, we’re coming at work from two sides – economic and legal – but it has a really important third dimension – humans.

Surely, that third dimension – people – has to be at least as important as the other two!

So, here’s what we think and here’s why we built mwah. Making Work Absolutely Human.

Work is a fundamental human right.      

We see ‘work’ as one of the most fundamental of human rights. (It’s actually   Article 23.1 of the International Declaration of Human Rights). The right to contribute. The opportunity to use our hands, our minds, our strength, our creativity and sometimes even our hearts, to contribute to the community in which we live.

That puts work not at odds with our lives, in the old ‘work versus life balance’ thinking, but right in the middle of our lives, making a difference to our state of being.

We could easily make work (and leadership) better for all of us – more inclusive, more real, more ‘human’, and with a more positive impact on well-being. It’s about shifting the conversations about work from the purely economic ‘work versus leisure’, or the legal debate around ‘control versus servitude’, and across to include the value of purpose, belonging, wellbeing and independence.

Ask anyone who has not worked for a while, or is unable to get work, and you’ll quickly hear just how important work is.

Talk with someone who works excessive hours, with relentless pressure, or under poor leadership, and you’ll be very aware of how damaging the impact can be, not just at the time, but long after the event.

Most businesses want to run well. 

They take huge pride in working hard to provide good products or services to their customers, pay fair tax, and treat their people well within the law and expectations. They want to do the right thing by society, and the economy.

They don’t want to be embroiled in legal stoushes or insanely bureaucratic HR processes. They just want to have a great team, that loves what they do, and gets along well. They want great info on how to lead and run their business, so they can get back to running their business.

And most employees want the same.

They want work that matters. They want to do a good job, get along with people and be appreciated. They need some autonomy, flexibility, and choice over their work and the potential to grow and have a career.

(This was all found to be true in the recent research we did with Curtin University – The Happy Worker Report)

They want good advice on how to do that. When it goes wrong, they want advice on how to fix it themselves, and they only ever want to resort to legal battles when everything else has failed.

The vast majority of people want to work and be great at the work they do.

So, we built mwah. ( to do just that. – A Better Way to Look at Work

We built to give people great information on how to work well.

Whether you’re a boss trying to find your way through a thousand pieces of information on what to do to get a great team, keep a great team, and look after a great team, or whether you’re an employee trying to find the right job, negotiate the right conditions, build a career, or resolve a problem, you just want to grab that advice quickly, in the moment.

And to keep it all really humming along, the information is not one-sided. You can see the other perspective, because it’s right there next to your info. This is new. Given the vast majority of people want to do the right thing, this level of transparency is hugely positive. It means everyone knows what to expect, and they can play their role in getting it right. It’s mutual understanding and accountability at its best.

What have we built?

mwah. is a really unique future-facing business built in four parts.

  1. Knowledge Base – Part toolkit and part giant knowledge base of everything you ever needed to work with people, all wrapped around a unique ‘mwah.way of working’. We’ve done this as a subscription to make it as accessible to as many people as possible.
  2. Community – to link everyone together
  3. A Think Tank – research better ways and challenge status quo
  4. Social Enterprise/ NFP Partners – to simply include more people in work

We look forward to talking about these four parts in more detail next week.

Today we just wanted to talk about the ‘why’ behind mwah.

We want to change the debate!

A Better Way

Our big ambition was and is to move the conversation about work to a better place. We want to round out economics and law, with humanity, and create significant social change around the way we work.

Work is so much a part of our lives. It’s time we stopped relying on the big traditional businesses to lead us to a better way of working. The future of work is a much more open debate. How do we want to work? How do we want businesses to run? What really makes the people side of business work well?

We need sustainable businesses, and we need to understand that work is foundational to the future of our society. As such, our mission is to design and share a better way to think and talk about work. To do that, we need great businesses and great employees at the table, being creative and thinking of better ways.

We’re not just talking about “a sustainable economy”, we’re also talking about “a sustainable community”, and that starts with making work absolutely human!

And that will take all of us.

We’d love you to join the conversation!