Ends and meanies
Mind your assets
My eldest child tells me that I just don’t appreciate all that Elon Musk is and what he contributes to humankind. Fair enough…I surely don’t. And am not likely to in this lifetime.
To set the record straight, I can appreciate what Musk has done to advance some needed technologies, obtain investment in technical areas once thought not-promising, and doing some other cool things. I am just not a big fan of how he does these things. I think he is, in general, an asshat.
Let’s consider this news item that crossed on Bloomberg this week.
Alas, Elon is not alone. Live from New York, tough employer love is also going into effect in the Big Apple, courtesy of the Mayor:
Capping the news roundup, this week brought reviews of the new biography of Jack Welch, or Neutron Jack to his non-admirers. That moniker was earned by Welch’s penchant for nuking employees to
line his pockets reduce costs.
Seems that folks are again noticing that Welch’s legacy is not all it was once PR’d up to be. Welch’s critics always claimed that he put profits before people (and manipulated both, as it turns out). That GE is a shadow of its former industrial titan self, and will soon be no more, should have made this new reckoning of the Welch legacy irrelevant. More apropos to the moment may be the shadenfreude it now evokes.
Whatever happened to the belief that “our employees are our greatest asset?” Writing in the Harvard Business Review in 2002, Peter Drucker presciently wrote “…employers no longer chant the old mantra ‘People are our greatest asset.’ Instead, they claim ‘People are our greatest liability’…”
It’s one thing for a company to seek out opportunities to “out-source the more tedious aspects of its human resources management,” Drucker wrote. “It’s quite another to forget, in the process, that developing talent is business’s most important task—the sine qua non of competition in a knowledge economy.”
He continued, “In a traditional workforce, the worker serves the system; in a knowledge workforce, the system must serve the worker…the only way that [an organization] can excel in a knowledge-based economy and society is…by managing its knowledge workers for greater productivity. The challenge, to repeat an old saying, is “to make ordinary people do extraordinary things.”
If you don’t treat employees as people, they will still act as people do. They will disengage and head for greener pastures. As so many organizations are learning, you can’t produce without workers. Imagine that.
“Employees may be our greatest liability, but people are our greatest opportunity.”- Peter Drucker
This far into the 21st century, treating people well should not be seen as a radical act, even if you are the world’s richest
spoiled brat being. It’s not cruel to be kind to your workforce, it’s actually good business.
Too true. This phenomenon is fueled not just by ego but also by our system of star worship. How often is the face on the cover of a business magazine telling the story of their people instead of themselves?
Srsly? "Cruel to be kind" says it all. It's just cruel; no "kind" lives in "cruel."