As a Personnel Manager in the poultry processing industry, I watched managers and supervisors working 60/80 hours a week while employees stood around waiting for someone to tell them what to do. What I call a Parent/Child workplace. That was in the 1980's; and is still the way most organisations still work 20 years on. What a waste!
FACT: The baby boomers are entering their 50s; globally we are entering a baby bust - a world wide shortage of labour! Add to that the fact that under 30 year old males are in short supply and will probably not stay with your organisation for more than 4 years; under 30 year old woman find the games and politics or most corporates unacceptable and are moving towards starting businesses of their own.
An employee backlash to the constant downsizing of the last 15 years? Possibly.
FACT: The hierarchy is dead. We no longer have the time to work in such a cumbersome fashion; we have to get as much decision making to the front end of our organisations as quickly as we can. My aim, is to free Managers by a minimum of 30% to work ON the business not IN it; to hand over the bulk of the day to day to employees; to show employees the need think and work like owners not dependants; to turn departments into high performing teams, and to educate in "sustainable" business.
FACT: Our employees are our only competitive advantage; today's employees are demanding to be included in decisions which affect them. And in a world where there is going to be a huge shortage of skilled people, if we don't look after our people, someone else will.
Charles Handy talks about the ½ x 2 x 3 equation. Run your business with half the number of people, pay them twice as much and they will produce three times the norm. If you then put these people into empowered teams; you will have energy to burn. Ricardo Semlar (Maverick) put his employees into teams and reaped the benefits as they increased productivity from $10,200 per employee to $92,000 per employee.
Want even more growth? Then as we move from the Industrial Age to the Knowledge/Information Age, you may also need to ask three questions:
1. Why are we in business?
2. Will we still be in business in 10 years doing what we are currently doing?
We have to start making some brave, long term business decisions - being in business merely for the $ is no longer acceptable. The interesting thing is that being a "sustainable" business will grow your bottom line faster than you had dreamed possible - because your customers are also becoming street wise - they want to know that what they are buying will not cost the earth.
The Hopi Indians would not make any major decisions without considering the effect on seven generations ahead. Could we at least consider one generation ahead before we make our next business decision?