Avoiding corporate meltdown

We live in a world where electronic devices give us mastery over time and space.  We should be using this new-found power to enhance our lives.

However,this vast multiplication of efficiency is an open invitation for some to construct giant corporate machines, where employees fit like cogs into a system driven by artificial intelligence.

000034584We need to turn the tide and press hard for the humanization of industry or we will surely attempt to recreate the grim world imagined by Fritz Lang in Metropolis (1926).

This 80-year-old silent movie still has an enormous impact. You can read about it here.

People who do not learn from the past would use the tools that give us immense power to monitor our every move and to evaluate our actions. These seekers of mechanistic truth have lost sight of the human spirit.

The human spirit functions poorly in captivity. The more it is constrained, the more it resists. When it is forced to be a mere cog in a machine, it eventually goes insane and the results are disastrous. George Orwell’s 1984 captured this admirably.

Fortunately, there are some enlightened leaders who recognize that people perform best when they are free to make choices and don’t work well as mindless cogs.

Accordong to Stuart Berman, Toyota is enlightened and is leading the charge in lean thinking, creating better product economically, and in a sustainable manner.

Blogger  Rosa Say, of Say Leadership Coaching, is on a continuing mission to demonstrate that
management can be a passionate and noble profession, when done well. We need more like her to teach that leadership as an opportunity to enoble rather than to degrade others.

We need more attention from the blogosphere on ways to humanize the working experience.

Frank Martin  suggests that distributed work with no commuting may be one answer: … millions of people … like myself work on home offices with broadband connections to coworkers spread out all over the globe in a ‘follow the sun’ business model that allows us to get far more done every day, while only working an 8 hour shift, one that has no overhead of commute costs in time or money. (see his comment on my Feb 4 post.)

I agree with his conclusions. We need to keep the pressure on by discussing real alternatives to ever-expanding cubicle farms.

Farmers have found that chickens do better ranging free than when they are cooped up in tiny cages where their beaks must be removed so they won’t kill each other in their insanity.

People in cubicle hell need the same enlightened solution: fresh air and sunshine with 8 hours of work in a pleasant environment.

That’s not too hard to imagine. When it is so obviously a boost to real production, one has to wonder why there is so much resistance to this from some quarters.

Metropolispost1The resistant managers mutter, The workers are escaping. We need to round them up and have them work in long, orderly rows, where we can count them easily…

This picture on the left is the vision they are working toward. Nightmare stuff…

We can do better. If not for ourselves, then for our children.

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