Recently, I received an invitation to speak, and to lead a workshop, at the Foire de Paris, one of the oldest and largest trade fairs in Europe, around the theme of “Slow Management and Well Being at Work”.
When they sent me the schedule of events, I was frankly amazed by the depth of their interest in the theme of Slow and its various incarnations. They have organized the “Slow Café”, a 10-day event from April 28 to May 8, with various events and themes: slow business, design, human relations, slow leisure time, slow well-being, slow travel, slow attitude and harmony with nature, for example.
For their promotional material and communication about the event, the organizers of the Slow Café asked me to write a few words about how my interest in slow management began and why I chose to write a book that emphasized this concept (Click here to discover the book)
My exchanges with the organizers of this event, and their emphasis on the “slow” phenomenon, got me wondering about how much some of our views of management and leadership may be changing. For most of the 20th century, much of our management thinking came out of the Industrial Age. The emphasis was placed squarely on efficiency, measurement, setting clear objectives, and providing the right incentives for workers.
While I do not mean to imply that we will, or should, leave the concepts of goal setting and measuring results behind, in my interviews with managers and in my reading of late, I have noted a shift to a slower, more human view of organizational efficiency. More and more these days, I seem to come across the idea that we need to see our organizations less in machine-like terms and more in anthropological terms. In the end, despite our efforts to manage scientifically, our organizations are human-based systems.
I am looking forward to spending time, even lingering, in the Slow Café at the Foire de Paris. To me, the whole Slow Food movement, which may have started the whole trend to Slow Everything-else, is about far more than taking the time to eat slowly and enjoy the moment. It is about thinking more deeply about what and how we consume. In management, should we not be reflecting more deeply about how we are “consuming” our organizations and our co-workers?