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Welcome to Two Sides, ONE Coin.

Quote of the Week comes from Albert Einstein

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Business Philosophy: Wanted AND Unwanted Results

We have, as individuals, the potential to be our own greatest work of art, our greatest creation.  Following the path that is outlined by another rarely mirrors the results for it's followers as it produced for the Leader, the original pioneer of an idea. 

Too few of us can remember our original self in order to have a truly "original thought". Much to our dismay, most of what we think was something we heard or read.  The same thoughts go round and round within our minds (and some of us have a large collection to draw on) but, wounded egos aside, we seldom think something that has not already been thought by someone, somewhere, sometime. It has also been suggested that "There is nothing new under the Sun."

I've done a lot of web surfing this week, reading Leadership blogs and articles primarily.  There is a tremendous amount of duplication in content and much of what I read can be found through searches in at least a dozen places or more. There is very little original thought, little original thinking, although there's a vast abundance of recycled words and ideas. I remember as a child, my dad would often say, "Don't believe everything you read.  Simply because it appears in print, doesn't make it so."

We can't fault authors for their regurgitation of ideas.  Unless you are writing as an independent blogger, most established blog sites have pre-determined criteria and guidelines for subject content. The words written for existing blogs afford small ability to "customize, alter, modify or adjust" how the material is presented or what material is presented. Our words are poured onto paper and then sent in for review. The subject matter is generally confined to what is considered "safe", restricted to what is "non-controversial". A number of additional sources must be cited that support our propositions and assertions of "The Way" we recommend (i.e - there must be a wide consensus of opinions).

The sheer volume of information we are required to know in order to stay "competitive" in today's market is astounding.  The amount of time we devote to the endeavor of absorbing that information and then applying what we've learned, has left little or no time to reflect on the truth of what we apply. More to the point, we have little time to truly examine our results.

We look for the wanted measurements (typically an increase in profits) but we seldom take time to look at what arose with them - the unwanted "side effects".  The pace today is prohibitive to real reflection so the clock just keeps ticking, time just keeps marching, and business keeps rolling  along.  

Real results are considered found in the "tangibles" - what can be measured or quantified. This is, however, only half of the picture.  It's time we all learn to think for ourselves when it comes to the other half, the "other side" of the proverbial coin.  It is highly unlikely that you will find much material that speaks to the "intangibles" - the real and hidden human costs we pay for the acceptance and implementation of many of these ideas. 

Examples of widespread ideas with under-examined results must include the phrase, "Strictly Business, Nothing Personal". Please note that this is NOT a new idea or an original thought, it is merely the hatcheting of an old one.  Web Definitions defines Business as "a commercial or industrial enterprise and the People that comprise it". In the Strictly Business paradigm, What happened to the other half, the AND of ....and the People?

According to the Web Definition, would it seem more accurate to say that Business Leaders and the Captains of Industry simply chose to dispense with  thinking of People as vital to their business? Has the Business entity taken on greater importance than the living entities that comprise it? Since "the people" are inherent within the definition of Business itself, does it seem likely that the decision might have been made simply because People are problematic to their goals and to their bottom line thinking? 

I sincerely doubt, if polled, that the majority of People comprising a Business want to spend the bulk of their waking hours in an Impersonal environment - devoid of personality, devoid of human characteristics and traits.

I need to ask again, Does the repetition of an untruth (or partial truth) make the assertion true?
Where has the Strictly Business view led us?  What are some of the side effects or unwanted results? Business environments have become largely "soul-less"  while the phrase itself has become little more than self-justification for cold-hearted action.Do we really believe there is no better way?

This self-justification seems particularly true for many self-described "performance-driven" companies who wear the words like a badge of honor, some "thing" they can be proud of.  Interestingly enough, many of these companies that ascribe to the belief that Business can be "Strictly Business, Nothing Personal" are the same companies that claim to follow a Relational Management Philosophy.  I submit that it is unlikely that they truly understand what it is that they say. 

The "Strictly Business" philosophy disregards the human element and the idea of "Relational Management" is still viewed within that partial and narrowed context.  The sphere of consideration has expanded slightly although it is often taken to mean, and is therefore limited to, the inclusion of those who are thought to have a direct "relationship" to the Strictly Business bottom line. The "Nothing Personal" view of Business treats the The People of Business  as Impersonal objects (devoid of personality); all "others" are still seen as merely the means to their ends.

Eliminating the human factor from human endeavors can only lead to soul-less results.  Success arrived at by these means can only bring us short-term pleasure, the long-term result is that our success feels empty and hollow of meaning.

The next time someone points to the benefits of following a particular Business philosophy, I would suggest you experiment before you implement the idea.  Measure your quantifiable results but use common sense and also take a good, long look at the other side of the coin to see what “unwanted” results that philosophy yielded, too.

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