Kind thanks to my business and life partner, Louise Altman, who kindly lent me this excellent article to reblog from her archives. It’s one of my favorites from the Intentional Workplace and one that her readers consistently rank in her top ten.
To me, this article speaks to a central issue that I believe is at the heart of so much difficulty in today’s workplace – our inability to regularly connect at the human to human level. To be sure, the structure of the “modern” organization creates serious roadblocks and even undermines empathy, trust and genuine collaboration between co-workers. The article points to the decaying legacy of hierarchical control models that were never designed to optimize human dynamics. The article raises important points that I believe are part of a critical conversation that organizational leaders and their employees need to have if we are to restore trust and authentic engagement.
“For me, my role is about unleashing what people already have inside them that are maybe suppressed in most work environment.” Tony Hseih, Zappos CEO
Is the “modern” workplace designed for people?
Are the systems created for work designed to maximize productivity and profit or human well-being?
Who factors in the real cost of human labor when analyzing productivity and profits?
What do most managers believe they are managing?
I have far more questions than I have answers on this topic. In fact, I think we’re now on new terrain when it comes to redefining the meaning of work in a global “supply chain” world. While it may seem absurd that in one part of the world children are still working in coal mines; while in another, companies like Google have installed, Chief Culture Officers, this is the new “normal.” Continue reading