Monday, December 8, 2014

Lean, Leadership & Ethics, Part 1

By Pascal Dennis

Been reflecting about each of these lately, and how they relate.

But what’s Ethics got to do with anything?

We’re in a proverbial knowledge economy. The market caps of, say, Google, Facebook and Apple, dwarf that of Toyota.

Google, Facebook and Apple have comparatively little in physical capital. ‘All’ they have is intellectual capital, and in particular, human capital.

How does human capital differ, from say, physical or financial capital?

Unlike, say, a machine, or a bond, human capital can chose not to deploy. Human capital can chose to walk out the door, in fact.

“That army will win which has the same spirit,” said Sun Tsu twenty-five hundred years ago. It’s never been more true.


Yet Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report tells us that only 13% of employees are engaged in their work!

Big company disease and organizational dysfunction is so deeply entrenched that we barely flinch at such data.

Imagine you’re a factory manager and your machines are operating at only 13% of capacity!

Why are people so disengaged? Gallup doesn’t say. But I suspect that disillusionment, or even disgust, at what the organization stands for, or how management behaves, is a major reason.

There’s more. Millennials (those born after 1980) will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. And Gallup tells us that ethical behavior in corporations is even more important to millennials than to their parents.

Of course Ethics matters. People will not follow swine, at least not willingly, for very long. People will certainly not commit their hearts and minds – unless they feel good about what the organization stands for.

In the weeks to come, we’ll dig into Ethics and how it relates to Lean and Leadership.

Best regards,

Pascal


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