Transformation and Employee Performance

Most of the organizations that we work with agree that employees are their most important asset (not resource) and need to be treated accordingly. In a recent book by Simon Head, entitled Mindless, a picture is painted of several well known organizations where employees are treated quite the opposite. They are treated as expendable resources and not as assets to be developed. He paints a picture of these two well known organizations as examples of sweat shop mentality applied with the control factor of computer assisted networks, processes and surveillance. It is a grim picture as history repeats itself in an automated way. These are not transformed but rather dehumanized organizations. They certainly do not embrace our goal of win/ win for transformed companies. They are not good and do not add redeeming value as they do not respect the human being as better than whatever physical labor one might extract from them. In this way they demean themselves while blaming their actions on ‘human nature’. As uniformed tyrants they don’t understand that a win/win scenario is to their benefit and to that of the overall economy. Ironically both organizations are in the retail business while at the same time penalizing their own consumers. It reminds me of a talk I gave several years ago. I was speaking on the subject of ‘gainsharing’ to an Industrial Park Association. I had just described how a ‘gainsharing plan worked when a hand flew up from the back of the room. The gentleman stood up and said that while he understood how gainsharing worked he did not have to consider it. He would simply instill ‘fear’ in his employees and they would do whatever he wanted. His cronies laughed. Not a very bright fellow but neither are those who take the same attitude on a grander scale as depicted in Mr. Head’s book.

Transforming an organization takes courage and energy. It takes a Leader. Fear is simply the strategy of the weak and lame. The Bullies.

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