Thursday, May 12, 2005

Good questions and well-being at work

Yingyang2_1I am a big believer in the power of (good) questions. Actually I have not really come across "bad" questions so far. Yes, there are questions that bother me or questions I cannot answer or questions that are indiscrete... however that does not make them "bad" questions. Let alone that the sheer fact of dividing the world in "good" and "bad" is seldom a source of harmony in my opinion, for there is always one within the other in our world. Of course, the question begs: why should there be peace and harmony in one's life and especially their professional life? Let me renew a promise I made onthis blog: I will write something about the importance of harmony (even in business), as soon as I feel ready to do it.

Anyway, here are three questions asked by Ricardo Semler, a highly successful business manager in Latin America. He shares his experience in Maverick! and The Seven Day Weekend and I think both are worth reading. Now the questions:

1. Why do we think that the future is in God's hands and
then pre-plan every moment of it?

2. Why do we think
 intuition is so valuable and unique - and find no
place for it as an official business instrument?

3. Why do we agree that living well is
living every moment, without
reinforcing past of future
- but then spend most of our work lives
dealing with historical data and future budgets?

It's interesting food for thought and I realise that the more I read, think and write about those aspects of business that I experience, the more I come to ask questions that cannot be restricted to business life.

So perhaps after all life is One and the distinction between principles that would be applicable to my business life and principles that I choose to apply to my private life, is essentially artificial. Perhaps it is even detrimental to an individual's well being. Perhaps it is fragmenting that which is One, ie an individual's higher self. Perhaps thinking, saying and doing something about the well being of people at work is substantially more powerful as a means to improve the odds for a business than rigid procedures, ill-formatted templates and cost cutting programmes.

But of course, we may feel uncomfortable considering a different path from the obvious and established one. Do we feel uncomfortable doing something for its own sake and because we (not other people) feel it's the right thing to do?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

To conform or not to conform?

Found on the site of the University of Michigan, this text is quoted from The Corporate curmudgeon (Dale Dauten). Quite interesting and thought provoking...

"A university once was thought of as a place for
freethinkers. Not now. The thinking is never free; it is expensive and shackled.
In the absence of freethinking, college has become a vo-tech for bureaucrats. A
diploma proves that you are a card-carrying bureaucrat, that you are willing to
do what you are told for years at a time. thus, you are qualified to work for
major corporations.

And when you go to the placement office, think about the
sort of companies that would want to come to a university to hire employees. Ask
yourself: If these corporations are such great places to work, why are they the
only ones other than the Army to have 'recruiters'?

If you want to live your own way, it is important to understand
that those who make a difference are nonconformists, rugged individualists. What
school prepares you for is a life as a hard-working non-individualist, a rugged

You arrive at graduation ill-prepared for the life-long struggle
against conformity. Refuse to concede. Start by refusing to take the obvious
job, the one that pays the most. You've heard that old lie about 'He who has
the most toys when he dies wins.' Change the 't' in 'toys' to a 'j' and you'll
be closer.

And if you have to give up a few thousand dollars a year to join
a small, lively organization, remember that each $1,000 in salary is only about
two dollars a day, take-home. Would you leave a $5 bill on the dresser every
day to have a lively, energizing career?

So, if you want to have a chance to slip the bonds of bureaucracy,
you will have to look beyond the placement office.

You will have to search among the oddballs and black sheep, among
those whose shoes aren't shined and whose smiles aren't rehearsed..

No, do not go in search of a job, but an inspiration. Find a
leader, a guide. Find friends. Look until you discover true individuals and
then plead with them to take you in."