Business As Usual (?) Mid-stream Middle America
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Business As Usual (?) Mid-stream Middle America

Business Operation:

The last thirty years of my work have been invested in working with the difference between ‘productivity and effective productivity’, and, the difference between ‘motivation and inspiration’. From this difference I have come to know two models of operation. One model, the old model, has been in operation for the last one hundred years. The second model, the new model, has emerged from the last twenty years. There is a significant difference between the ways that these two models operate.

The old model is a patriarchal, authoritarian, direct-management of people, of communications and of activity way of operating business. The new model operates with the openness of stewardship-partnering, company to employee, employee to employee, employee to customer with personal interest acting in service to the good of all the stakeholders involved. The old model operates with “productivity and motivation”. Most companies think that their employees are productive and motivated. However, today, productivity and motivation is yielding a workforce that is not fully engaged. According to the Gallup Organization, today’s workforce is fifty percent ‘going-through-the-motions’ of work with seventeen percent ‘disgruntled’. Through deductive reasoning an estimated engaged-with-the-work-at-hand, conscious attention being paid to the work-at-hand, average for today’s workforce may be around 75 to 80% of its full potential. The new model operates with “effective productivity and inspiration”. This new model of operation has the potential of consciously, fully engaging the worker. The old model in its original form has two underlying premises that do not set well with today’s workforce. One, as an employee you should feel lucky to have a job with us today. And two, as business we will work with you the employee in terms of numbers, however, we are not really interested in getting involved with you personally. And, when it comes to the numbers, we will choose the parameters by which we gauge you by, tell you who you are, and, in a way we will control your destiny. The new model understands the importance of numbers. The new model also recognizes the potential available by tapping into the personal side of the worker.

To visually see the difference between the old model and the new model, let’s draw a linear diagram that depicts the placement of these two models each relative to the other. Overall the line will be zero to ten. Start at the left side of a piece of paper. Draw the line from left to right, zero to seven. Leave the distance between seven and nine blank. Start the line at nine and complete at ten, the right side of the paper. This zero to ten line numerically depicts the old model at its beginning at zero, the old model evolution from zero to seven, the limits of the old model way of operation at seven, the distance of dissimilarity between the old model and the new model, seven to nine, and, the new model of operation, nine to ten. The old model way of operating and the new model way of operating do not match. The new model way of operating does not operate under the same premises as the old model.

The old model of operation evolved through numerous changes. These evolutionary changes have moved this old model from its original patriarchal, authoritarian, direct-management of people, of communications and of activity way of operating business, zero on our line to seven, to the positive limits of the old model ability to motivate and move empowerment into the hands of the worker. Seven on the line is where most of the companies that Jim Collins, writes about, ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’, reside. To move from seven to nine requires a revolutionary change in the way of operating. Evolutionary change will not bridge the gap from seven to nine.

Evolutionary change occurs through incremental growth. The evolutionary change is implemented without creating an overall disruption in the day-to-day way of people management, communications and activity. Management, communications and activity tends to continue to flow, as usual, from top to bottom. A revolutionary change is required to operate in the nine to ten points on the line. The day-to-day way of people management, communications and activity requires a shift in power. The power of authority from above is given over to the worker at each work-in-hand level. Leadership real-time-decision-making with the work-in-hand is required throughout all levels of work. Self-governance and performance ethics are the two premises that operate this new model.

The new model of operation, nine to ten on the line, can best be described as the self-governance philosophy of Peter Block, ‘Stewardship’, coupled with the collective strength of the identity imprint and implementation of Larry Ackerman, ‘Identity is Destiny’. This philosophy, imprint and implementation new model of operation takes a certain level of understanding in the faith and good will of all workers, at all levels of work. A faith that calls on workers to take control of and be responsible for leadership-real-time decision making with their work-at-hand: self-governance. A faith that identity, collective and personal, provides the strength of character required to personally implement self-governance. The old model of operation is a work relationship that is a natural continuation of parent-child, teacher-student, i.e. boss to employee; patriarchal. Consequently, this patriarchal form houses a workforce that does not easily lend its self to the revolutionary faith and good will required to change operations from old to new.

To utilize support from the best of the old model and concurrently move towards the eventual change that must be made to operate the new model, let’s look at a performance ethic (self-governance), personal interest (identity) model, StreamingSuccess®. This model of operation takes the best tools of the old model, weaves a ‘golden thread’ of personal interest through these tools in such a way that we cross the dissimilarity break, seven to nine, between the old and the new model. The StreamingSuccess® model of operation, through personal interest, taps into today’s workforce creative, innovative and self-sustaining fuel: …”inspired and self-initiated workers”... to move across the seven to nine dissimilarity break.

Performance Ethic

0_______________________________7 Personal Interest 9__________10

Old Model of Operation StreamingSuccess® New Model

…..Performance Improvement Line Diagram…..

To help understand the evolutionary change that business has experienced while evolving along the line from zero to seven, and the changing dynamic that the StreamingSuccess® model works with to release the self-sustaining fuel, let’s look at a bridge of thought.

A Bridge of Thought:

The last 30 years has brought changes to the way I view and think about the practice of how to operate business. I see a developing structure of thought that forms a bridge from 1960 to 2030. A 70 year span that is full of significant change. In most industries these changes have tested businesses abilities to survive. Operating business as usual is not necessarily a predictable indicator for success. To help see these changes let’s paint a picture, a mental image, that we can use as a backdrop, to refer to, as we talk about these changes and their effect on the operation of business.

Imagine yourself sitting in a car called business, driving on the road in the late 50s, coming onto the bridge in the early 60s, driving along the bridge the last 50 years to today, 2011. As you are driving along through the last 50 years, you see the changing dynamics that are affecting business: economic demands, technology, work force, human potential. Here, at 2011, these dynamics have crowded themselves onto the bridge in such a way that they are creating economic waves of turbulence. It is like violent waters pounding against the bridge eroding the foundation away. The bridge is no longer stable – it is moving, swaying.

Back in our car called business, driving along looking toward 2030, rather than seeing a clear roadway, we see that we are driving in a deep, dense fog of unknown. We really do not know how these four changing dynamics are going to interweave amongst themselves and interact with day-to-day operations of business.

Economic demands are an ever changing landscape that business works in and through.

Technology is thought of, by most of us, as the information age, the computer, the laptop, the ability to unify, systemize and speedup certain production activities, change tracking and communications, help us do more with less. An age that we have passed through, where now, we update hardware and software to achieve current levels of computer performance. But when we listen to the gurus in technology, consider the emerging iphone applications and the sentient programming in robotics, we see that the marriage, technological-humanistic blend, is just now in its infancy with today’s work force and may be 20 years in maturing.

Economic demands are negotiated through, and technology is applied by, the innovative and creative abilities of the workforce – the third dynamic.

The workforce is 150 million strong, 77 million baby boomers, who are retiring between 2006 and 2024. This is over one-half of the workforce retiring at the rate of about ten thousand per day. What this means to you and I, in terms of practical day-to-day operations, is that, for every five people we have today performing knowledgeable know-what-to-do-next work, tomorrow, given that we are an employer of choice, we may have three know-what-to-do-next workers to choose from to do the work of five. The baby boomers are leaving a multi-generational work force whose cultural norms, values, work ethics and ways of commitment differ appreciably. It is a workforce that has been brought up to believe that they can have what they want to have, do what they want to do, and, live accordingly. A workforce that believes…“if it is not personal”…then, it is not pertinent. The old model of operation views these two personal beliefs as negative. The performance ethics, personal interest model of operation, StreamingSuccess®, recognizes the power of personal belief, taps into this personal power and converts it into effective productivity. One-half of the new work force are women. Women are bringing whole-life, full-circle way of thinking to the work place. This is a clear departure from the linear thinking that has controlled and dominated business, the old model of operation, for the last one hundred years.

The fourth changing dynamic, human potential, is this changing multi-generational workforce mix of appreciably different cultural norms, values and work ethics, works from a personal interest way of belief and is a blend of linear and whole-life way of thinking. This workforce is entering into a personal interaction with technology that will be a deepening of the marriage, technological-humanistic blend. This workforce is not engaged at its full potential. Twenty percent of this potential may be/is setting in a dormant state. The way to navigate, the next 20 years through the fog, is to understand how to tap into and to work with this dormant human potential. More specifically,

The Strategy: Business must fully and effectively engage with the employee in both a numbers and a personal way, such that, the employee fully, effectively and consciously engages with the work-at-hand.

Human Potential:

When we look over the last 50 years at this human potential changing dynamic and how it has woven its way along the bridge, we see four tools that have emerged and are evolving. The old model views these four tools as separate and linear, has implemented these tools as separate and linear, with the results being a marginal gain in productivity. The StreamingSuccess® performance ethics, personal interest model views these tools as an opportunity to fully engage the worker by weaving personal interest into the daily work-at-hand. An opportunity to create a whole system solution with results that develop into cultural synergy: whole system, greater-than-its-parts, productivity gain.

Carl Springer - CreativeChoice


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