As the World Changes, What Remains the Same?

I had breakfast this morning with a friend and colleague whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time.  As small business owners, we found ourselves sharing how each of our businesses is going through major transition.  Transformation is likely the more accurate term.  Advancement in technology has altered how and what we both do. She designs marketing materials and we design organizations.  Current technology allows for a company like mine to design our own marketing materials.  Information available on the internet, such as articles and research providing how-to’s on managerial education give companies access to knowledge pertinent to my craft.  Coupled with the downturn in the economy, organizations are less likely to invite consultants in to do special projects.  Under all this stress what is remaining the same?

It’s the importance of teams and individuals working effectively.  Most in the corporate world have experienced colleagues being let go.  This is met with a sign of relief “thankfully its not me” and fear “will I be next”?  It is also met with the work of the departed being reallocated to currently existing roles.  The precarious corporate climate makes it unlikely any worker will stand up and say “I can’t take on another thing”.  Are you as a manager willing to look at how your department is organized to produce work?  Are you willing to take time out of busy days and speak with your employees individually and as a team to explore what if anything can be done differently?  Are you willing to ask them what is going on in their lives? Are you interested?

What remains the same is people-the human element of the work.  Technological advances provide a competitive edge when they are first introduced, but once more available the playing field is leveled.  Most companies can access technology at significantly reduced prices.  It’s in a company’s workforce that competitive advantage resides.  This is where the science and artistry of accountable, managerial leadership comes in.  Accountable managerial leadership is a term first used by Dr. Elliott Jaques in his seminal work Requisite Organization…A Total System for Effective Managerial Organization and Managerial Leadership for the 21st Century (revised second edition 1996 Cason hall Publishers) and further refined in Social Power and the CEO…Leadership and Trust in a Sustainable Free Enterprise System (2002 Quorum Book)

People are the competitive advantage.  The Vancouver Olympics illustrate this.  Technologically advanced skis, skates, snowboards, and sleds were available to all competitors.  The athletes and their coaches, their vision, goals, skill, practice and strategic mindset to deal with the unexpected, made the difference with who came home with medals. The Vancouver Organizing committee planned and constructed a vision, mission and the venues within which the games were held.  They were launched by an all-inclusive Opening Ceremony, and could have taken on the pallor of the untimely death of the Nodar Kumaritashvili the young Georgian luge slider who died during a practice run.  They acknowledged and respected his death and the games went on.  Again at the closing ceremony Nodor was acknowledged demonstrating how in the midst of adversity success can be achieved.

Those of you who know me personally know Dr. Jaques was my mentor and know that Requisite Organization forms the foundation for our work at BEI building engaged organizations.  I will incorporate specific principles in upcoming blogs in an attempt to make his brilliant findings more available.  More than ever we need effective managerial leaders and strong teamwork.  I’ve attached an inspirational video about teamwork available on You Tube.  It’s worth the view.  Assume a male created it as it uses male pronouns.  Make your own adjustments.  Have a great week and let me know what you are thinking.