Got a Suggestion? LO12046

JC Howell (
Fri, 17 Jan 1997 20:17:23 +0000

Replying to LO11982 --

In LO11982 Peter Jones writes:

> 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 seem to recall an obscure philosopher named Ed Deming who, a few years
back (before he became the latest passe management fad), said that we
should strive to drive out fear, remove the barriers that rob employees
and managers of the ownership of their jobs, and a number of other ideas
(said with tongue in cheek).

As Senge and others have pointed out, we conspire with those around us to
create the very conditions which we detest. Those companies who have
become successful in the quality arena and who will become successful in
the organizational learning arena are those that have managed to set aside
that traditional mindset that we typically refer to as management.

Trust? Yes. A very big factor. So it seeing that we are truly all in
this together. We all have seen evidence that people are motivated by
factors other than money alone. When workers see that their interests are
important to the company management, they are more willing to contribute
to the success of the company instead of simply sitting back and waiting
for "someone" to make a decision.

When management sees the relationship between the company and its success
and the well-being of its employees, it starts to treat them as human
beings rather than "trained monkeys." The instance of unneeded layoffs
starts to drop. The instance of necessary layoffs creating inordinate
amounts of ill will starts to drop. This is because the groups involved
are communicating. Ideas are gathered and valued and things start to
happen very differently.

The real question to me is whether or not the management team and the
workers of any given organization are mature enough to take a chance on
success. Are they willing to accept the ownership of their individual and
collective futures? Are they willing to expose and eliminate the silent
conspiracy that exists between them to create conditions that they each


Clyde Howell

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