your organization has been really slow off the mark, or is located
in a cave, you have spent the last few years re-engineering yourself.
And, if you are like most folks, you've pretty well had your fill
of it by now.
But hey, it's been fun hasn't it? And look what it's done for
us. The Wall Street Journal quotes Harvard's Dr. James Medoff
as saying, "There is
no empirical evidence that any of (these re-engineering processes) increase
productivity". Management consulting firm Gibson & Co, after 4,000
focus groups, pegs "the effectiveness of these management fads at between
just 10-20 per cent." Not only that, but re-engineering has spawned a
whole new line of consultants who run around the country doing workshops on
how to care for re-engineering "survivors". Surely this is cause
for rejoicing. If you are the sensitive sort, it might make you wonder what
happened to those who didn't make it. Was there a workshop for them too? And
come to think of it, whatever happened to the "people are our greatest
resource" bit? We gave that one up pretty easily didn't we. Reminds me
of the Groucho Marx line, "These are my principles and if you don't like
them....I have others."
Contrary to first impressions, I really am in favor of efficiency and productivity.
If you can do something in five steps instead of twenty-six, God bless you.
The point however is that re-engineering is blinding us. We've converted every
human activity and relationship into mechanical and measurable units, failing
to see that the human spirit cannot thrive in that environment. We have become
blind to the reality that once you lose spirit you lose everything. If there
is no wind in the sails the most scientifically engineered sloop will go no
further or faster than a dingy.
We have become blind to the truth that human spirit drives every significant
human initiative. Without a loving, vibrant, energized, creative, courageous
and challenging spirit pervading our corporations we end up little more than
a collection of empty structures and systems. Get the spirit right and the
systems will fall into place. It does not work the other way around.
Every leader should look into the re-engineered eyes of their people. Do you
see fire and passion? In our panic we have built the world's most thermally
advanced fireplace, a masterpiece of design technology and in our pride have
failed to see that there is no fire in the fireplace. If there is no fire,
what is the point of the fireplace?
This is the challenge of what I hope will soon be the post-re-engineering era:
To rekindle our internal flame.
Someday after mastering
winds, tides and gravity we
shall harness for God the
energy of love, and then, for
the second time in history,
we will have discovered fire.
Tielhard de Chardin
The following quotation must
be printed at the conclusion of each reprinted article:
"Copyright The Ian Percy Corporation."
Ian Percy is one of North America's most inspirational speakers.
Ian Percy is an international
speaker and consultant and can be reached at www.ianpercy.com