Monthly Archives: April 2012

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On engaging the human beings of the organization

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

Last week, I wrote that today’s biggest challenge for managers and leaders is inspiring knowledge workers in ways that stimulate their energy, passion and creativity. Of course, this is a concept that many scholars and practitioners have been talking about for years, so it is somewhat surprising that we are simply not better at it. In fact, it appears that as managers we are not very good at all when it comes to engaging our people. I once heard management expert Gary Hamel speak at the World Business Forum about worker engagement in our society. I do not recall exactly what data he was referencing, but I do remember clearly … Continue reading

Management for the Information Age

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

As discussed in the previous post, the managerial capitalism of the Industrial Age succeeded because it produced growth through centralized planning and efficient deployment of a company’s assets. In the age of industry, strategic planning and control were exercises in discipline and exactitude. Management could treat workers as semi-programmable robots. In fact, one of Henry Ford’s most famous quotes reveals much about this time: “What I want is a good pair of hands, unfortunately I must take them with a person attached.”  At work, most people were nothing more than links in a vast, well organized, automated chain. Companies were built for stability, consistency, and predictability—not for change. As we … Continue reading

The Age of Industry and its management legacy

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

Last time, I presented studies and statistics showing that an astonishing number of people are simply not happy with their jobs and their bosses. One surprising element of this discussion, at least for me, was the number of people who say that the primary source of their discontent is that their boss makes them miserable. So, I would like to focus a bit on what I feel is making so many workers unhappy, and on what managers and leaders might do about it. As I write this and subsequent blogs around these issues, I should state clearly that these are not the findings of an expert researcher in this field, … Continue reading

Miserable at work?

John's reflections, leadership, Leadership in the news, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Lately, I seem to be running across, in a variety of contexts and forms, the observation that a high percentage of workers are not happy with their jobs and their managers. So, I embark here on a series of posts—perhaps two, three or more, depending on my reading and thoughts in the coming weeks—to give my perspective on why so many people seem to be miserable at work, and what we as managers can do about it. My evidence is a bit random and anecdotal, but it all leads nonetheless to the distinct impression that ever-increasing numbers of people are complaining these days about their companies and their bosses. And, … Continue reading

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