In my last blog article I described a flawed system of management called “scientific management” that is harmful to everyone involved: shareholders, executives, managers, employees, customers, and society as a whole.
Scientific management, which is still the default system of management today, is predicated on a profound ignorance of the motivational “engine” that hums inside each of us. To maximize human potential, therefore, we need to re-invent the current, impersonal system of management and replace it with something that brings out the best in people. I call this better approach, “natural management.”
We don’t have to start this re-invention from scratch, however, because progress is already being made on many fronts and the business community is finally taking notice.
Here are some of the encouraging developments I have witnessed over the past 40 years:
- The reward and recognition industry, and companies like C.A. Short Company, have been working diligently to activate some of the key motivational cylinders. According to the precepts of natural management, employees need recognition just as badly as they need oxygen.
- The emotional-intelligence movement championed by the psychologist and author, Dan Goleman, is using the power of neuroscience to ferret out the secrets of the motivational engine.
- The employee-engagement movement, which was kick-started by the Gallup Organization, is using the power of statistics and the findings of positive psychologists like Martin Seligman to better understand the motivational engine and how to tap into it.
- The servant-leadership movement, propelled by authors like Robert Greenleaf, Max Dupree, John Maxwell, Ken Blanchard and many others, has given executives permission to be more real, more humble, and to treat employees more like allies than subordinates.
- The conscious-capitalism movement had given the business community permission to embrace “corporate social responsibility” and a noble purpose beyond just making money. Activist investors take the opposite approach and seek to maximize shareholder wealth at any price to employees, customers, or society as a whole (predatory capitalism).
- Intrinsic-reward theorists like Paul Lawrence, Nitin Nohria, Edward Deci and me have put the pieces together to create an overall framework for understanding the design of the motivational engine (the five-drive framework).
Have you encountered any of these positive developments? Do you think scientific management is REALLY being dismantled? The most encouraging evidence thus far emerged from Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends Report. Here is an excerpt.
“This year, employee engagement and culture issues exploded onto the scene, rising to become the No. 1 challenge around the world in our study .… Organizations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organizational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent.”
This is good news for you, me, and society as a whole. We are finally building ergonomic organizations that align with the grain of human nature and bring out the best in People! They are "Everything", you know.
In my next blog article I will explain the first, crucial step for activating your organization’s motivational engine. It involves connecting everyone into a cohesive, connected tribe that thinks and acts as one.