It was back in late 2008, early 2009 and I was discussing the economic crisis with a colleague in the rental car industry. Everyone was asking, “when do you think things will get back to normal?” and my response was always the same…it won’t. Much like the Great Depression changed the DNA of the 20th Century, the “Great Recession” changed the DNA of the 21st Century. Oh, people will forget, housing and credit bubbles will return and Wall Street and the automotive business will continue to dominate the economy but it will not be ‘business as usual’. My colleague agreed and it was he that first said to me, “there will be a new normal”.
Since then, that statement has become one of the latest business buzz phrases as evidenced by this LinkedIn article below. Over the last five years, many organizations have abandoned cultural models of people, relationships, leadership and talent development for the post World War II models of efficiency systems, process improvement, Lean Logic, etc. The ideology being that better process drives people, which drives greater productivity.
Many organizations, however, have discovered that those systems only produce short-term gains. Much like the famous fable by Aesop where the farmer, in his efforts to get more golden eggs from the goose, ultimately killed the goose. In the same way, many organizations have reached a tipping point with process and are even beginning to see diminishing returns. That is to say, productivity is going backwards.
Efficiency science and process improvement can be a great thing and can lead to lasting gains, but like all sciences it must have the right philosophy behind it. One thing that the last five years has demonstrated is that it is not process that drives people….It’s people who drive the process, its people that drive the culture, its people that drive change.
So…now things have come full circle, as also indicated in this article below. People, leadership, and the creation of culture from the ground up are back in the forefront for 2014. Are you ready to lead the way??
“One thing that the last five years has demonstrated is that it is not process that drives people. It’s people that drive the process, its people that drive the culture, its people that drive change.”