Got a Suggestion? LO11982

Peter H. Jones (
Thu, 16 Jan 97 22:37:27 -0800

Replying to LO11965 --

Scott said:
> Why is it that so few organizations value the input of their people
> so little that they don't bother to manage their ideas for improvement?...

Good question. I'll be interested to hear your views Scott? For me it
simply boils down to the issue of trust. A few years ago I was involved
with the co-ordination of a programme called PACE, an acronym for
Profitable Action thro Cost Evaluation, AND People Actually Communicating
Effectively. As well as a few unprintable alternatives! Anyway it was a
Quality Circles type of programme and initially achieved some startling
results by empowering teams of people to come up with ideas for
improvement. Cynics would say that it failed eventually because the teams
ran out of low hanging fruit - so to speak. But that was not the case.

As the organisation's culture changed through time and downsizing became
the order of the day people became fearful for their jobs. Even wary of
attending team meetings. The fun went out of it and fear came in the
door. People sometimes are slow to forgive and forget. They easily become
cynical and distrustful. Senge talks about Quality Circles efforts
reaching a Limits to Growth situation - but that was not my experience.

I'll never forget the good feelings that were generated by some of the
PACE teams I worked with. These people really showed me what is possible
if you can switch people on. They made me see the shocking waste of talent
all around us. In a way, I seem to spend a lot of my time these days
trying to reach that kind of synergy/energy once again with teams in other
organisations that I work with.

As for suggestion (box) schemes. I consider such boxes a symbol of the
organisation's failure and a desperate attempt to put right the underlying
communication failure. Token gestures if you like.

But maybe I'm lost in a time warp here. Perhaps you can find me a good
counsellor. "Tell me about your PACE teams Peter!" Eyebrows raised.

So my view is, we have to re-focus on trust. I recall a Tom Peter's video
where he is quoting (I think) Johnsonville Sausages? And the secretary
comes up with an idea for a mail order catalogue. The manager shrugs his
shoulders and says "Fine by me!" And off she goes and establishes this
huge mail order business within the business. Wow! I'm sure it wasn't
quite that simple, but the principle seems right to me.

Good night!


Peter H.Jones, Peopletronics Ltd, PO Box 30 451, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Tel.64 4 569 8875, Fax 64 4 569 8881, WebPage

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