On 1 to 10 how democratic or participative do you find firms?

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There has been a lot of talk about Empowerment and diversity in business but most people I talk to in the ranks still deal with the same old crap and disfunctional management of the past. Where are all these wonderful companies looking to include those in the trenches into their confidence and share the decision making power and authority. If it's only an illusion then who's blowing the whistle other than Dilbert and Tom Peters? Everything we read including Fast Company is how great and smart the leaders are. We have more programs than every on creating the perfect leader. Shed your views your tears or your disagreement if you will. I want to be validated or correct my views through intelligent dialogue with others interested in effective management. Sincerely

-- H Joseph Hempen (HJHempen@aol.com), January 25, 2001


Mr Hempen first of all your question is passive so therefore you may only get answers that are more likely to justify your present frame of mind. The problem with leadership today isn't theory, theories invigorate because like all passing wisdom they were meant to be read, to be absorbed and then consequently to be thrown away. An active question would be:

On a scale of 1 to 10 how democratic or participative have YOU been as a leader?

I may pass for a 7 or a 8, if I were to peg where I would put the common folk manager or leader is at a 3 or a 4. There are reasons for this and some of them are human and political, some of them are process orientated and some are simply due to management and employee skill levels. Yet that is also beset by the fact that leadership and management is a reflection of our educational system. There are good students, there are average students and there are poor students. The educational system does not give an "out" for poor students who may just happen to be good students at some other occupation and industry copies and passes on the same flaw.

Organizations like steel constantly rust, like rooms constantly gather dust, like unbrushed teeth constantly decay. In other words there is life cycle in business, which is very similar to the biological and natural world. New theories clean out old rusted theories, new management practices take out the dust of old ones and change brings with it the need to remove old systems, systems decaying in obsolescence. In other words I believe business, even in today's fast pace world, is slow to clean its house out and in the name of speed forgets to respect the natural life cycle. As a result most organizations are dirty and littered with waste and they don't know it. Most organizations consist of 30% waste.

I have only begun to outline why things happen but the number one issue why these things sometimes do not happen is that management has learned the art of the passive, as if business will always be a poker game where one watches the cards that are being played. Decisions take time, managers are wary of people taking short cuts or racing quicker than they like the game to be played. When organizations become active, is where the world of consultants play their specific part and something that has become a trusted ritual. It is a part, which employees can play but beyond profit sharing, participation is no closer to ownership because no organization truly is ready or capable of giving their organization away.

When it comes to empowerment we can speak forever but I found one article that was very punchy and to the point out in the wilderness that is the Internet. It is a worthy read. The article is written by Joanne B. Ciulla and I think you will enjoy reading it.

Article by Joanne B. Ciulla http://www.angelfire.com/biz2/AcotrelDirectory/WorkerParticipation.htm l

In conclusion, everything isn't bleak, there is gold out there. I have seen the best and they are truly brilliant and you can become a student of their world and I have seen the worst and you can become their doctor. It is not a level playing field, just like the digital divide, there is an excellence divide. If you open the wrong room your views will be validated but if you open the door to another, you find that in a few places, those fantastic and wonderful stories you hear about are true. Excellence isn't a something you would expect to find easily among the rank and file of management unless you dig deep and find the gold that lies buried within the strata of their undug and the untapped "mind-mines" in their organizations.


Profile at: http://www.fastcompany.com/fasttalk/replypost.html?p=9738

-- Mark Zorro (zorromark@consultant.com), January 25, 2001.

Please note the URL I provided here ends as html not htm l as is output previously. Make sure that there is no space at the end. I will re-enter the URL to see if the system is doing that or if I left the space in their by accident.

http://www.angelfire.com/biz2/AcotrelDirectory/WorkerParticipation.htm l

-- Mark Zorro (zorromark@consultant.com), January 25, 2001.

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