sabato 17 settembre 2011

People vs. Technology

The power of technology has had little effect upon long term profitability because that potential cannot be released without the assistance of people, and people have not generally been included in the design, selection, installation, implementation and use of ERP and business management systems.

Whenever you start dealing with people oriented issues, things start to get complicated. Maybe that’s why you see so many efficiency projects that seem to ignore people. Just organize the workflow and the technology and everything will be fine! Well, you can’t ignore people. People are customers, suppliers, employees, supervisors, managers, and business owners. At its most basic core, business is all about one individual working with another individual toward some common goal. If you want to achieve what I call Business Excellence, then you are going to have to admit that people matter, particularly your employees.

Excellent companies start with excellent owners and senior executives. They in turn recruit excellent line managers and supervisors. That’s the basic foundation, but it’s the regular people, the staff and line employees who will really make a difference. Regular everyday employees will make or break your organization. I know that seems contrary to the popular notion that excellence lies in technology and the management of the firm, but maybe I like to take a contrary viewpoint sometimes just to make a point. In this case I am speaking from the heart. Business Excellence is all about people. Business Excellence starts with the assumption that all people have the capacity to contribute to the success of the organization. Give people the tools they need to do their jobs well. Give them the encouragement to do their best. Give them a physical environment that supports efficiency. Give them a psychological environment which supports effectiveness. Give of yourself to each person in your organization and you stand a very good chance of becoming successful.

Maybe achieving Business Excellence starts with something as simple as remembering each person’s name. Maybe it starts by showing people that there is nothing to fear from change. Maybe all you have to do is to encourage people to let the excellence which has always been locked up inside them to come out. Maybe Business Excellence isn’t as difficult as you might otherwise think. All you have to do is give people just the smallest shove in the right direction and let them take it from there.

Business Excellence starts with people and never really leaves people. It starts with the recognition that people matter; not just in your mind, but in your actions. It has got to start at the top of the organization and move from one level to the next. You can’t have excellent employees unless you have excellent managers. You can’t have excellent managers if you don’t have excellent executives. It really isn’t’ that difficult as long as you realize that the power of the organization can be released only if each person has the same goal, and that goal is excellence through mutual dependency. Organizations don’t achieve excellence if they rely upon a few stars. Each person must be willing to contribute according to their ability and share equally in the rewards. Business Excellence isn’t about a few benefiting at the expense of the many.

Certainly there are any number of techniques for maximizing the contributions of each member of the organization. Teams seem to help a group of people focus their individual expertise into something more powerful. Incentive systems share the wealth people help to create. Becoming a learning organization recognizes the power which lies inside the minds of each employee. All of these techniques help, but the single most powerful tool you can bring to bear is your concern for each person.

People work more effectively with other people whom they admire or feel some form of friendship, even if it’s only a business friendship. That’s really the core philosophy which supports Business Excellence; people caring for other people. It really is that simple. No one person has the ability to carry other people on their back for very long, nor does any one group of people have the ability to carry a privileged few on their back for very long. All it takes is the recognition that every person has the ability to contribute something of value to the organization. All it takes is someone taking the time to treat other people as if they would want to be treated if they were in the same position. It really is that simple. Give of yourself because the people who work with you really do matter.


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