Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation"

More evidence that managers are the biggest demotivators comes from this Harvard Business School paper. The paper mentions a survey of 1.2 million employees and concludes, "The fault lies squarely at the feet of management—both the policies and procedures companies employ in managing their workforces and in the relationships that individual managers establish with their direct reports."

And then of course, the HBS paper provides the usual solutions - how managers should coach their employees, inspire them, promote teamwork and so on. Nothing new there. These solutions aren't going to make you fall out of your chair. Why not? Because you've heard them all before. And yet, nothing has changed. Why not? Because as I keep emphasizing, the system needs to change. Until that changes, all changes will be superficial.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Minor revision to airplane example

If you've read my manifesto, you will know that I have referred to flight as an emergent property for aircraft. Of course, the environment is also part of the 'system', in that the atmosphere/air plays a big role in flight. The sentence including the environment somehow got deleted from the final version of my manifesto. Apologies for that!

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Monday, April 17, 2006


Gerard Fairtlough (former CEO of Shell Chemicals UK and founder of biotechnology company, Celltech), has written a book called: Creative Compartments: a Design for Future Organization and The Three Ways of Getting Things Done in Organizations He talks about a concept called 'triarchy' - you can read more about it here.

He says, "Hierarchy will not easily withdraw. Understanding, inventiveness, balance and bravery will be needed to shift it. But there is good reason to think it can be shifted. Vast energy presently goes to propping up hierarchy. Releasing this energy for constructive use will bring great and clearly recognizable benefits. It will allow organizations to emerge that are much more effective for getting things done and much better places in which to work."

Also, read an interview with Sally Bibb, the author of Stone Age company at the same site (here's the link). There's one point in Sally's book that I particularly like, and that is the comparison of the corporate world to life in a school playground - often, top managers are "overgrown school kids running companies". This is just so true! Unfortunately for the sufferers, they don't have the stomach to fight the bullies - perhaps the same happened in their schooldays. In a lot of ways, the workplace reminds many of the terrible times they had in school - with the awful knowledge that they aren't going to be able to quit work any time soon. With the retirement age creeping upwards, there is no immediate light at the end of the tunnel for those trapped in the corporate schoolground.

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