No More Parts for the Machine: Transforming Performance in the Workforce


As organizations and businesses begin to rebuild their infrastructure after the Great Collapse, I am hoping that they do not try to reconstruct the same old machine that broke down in the first place.

There is both an opportunity and a challenge that has been set before every business that is in the process of re-engineering its workforce. Each company has the opportunity to make a paradigm shift away from the traditional mechanical approach to organization development. By this I mean that we all have the opportunity to see our work culture in a whole new way; one of collaborative, interactive design and development, instead of a giant corporate machine that swaps out people like expendable parts to keep the system running.

David Guera discusses this mechanical approach in an article about creating superperformance in an organization.

“This outdated machine view, the prevailing paradigm in business, drives suboptimization in many organizations today, creating self limiting behavior in organizations of every type. Organizations are living organisms; they are biological and complex. When examined from this perspective, they make abundantly more sense, revealing previously hidden, intrinsic opportunities that can be turned to incredible profit. They share an inherent pattern of polarcomplementarity with all living systems. The border between the tangible and intangible organization is the sweet spot of superperformance.

Superperformance is the product of process and culture. In this formulation, process is defined as the work and culture as the spirit of an organization. The work of an organization comprises its physical dimension, encompassing business strategies, systems, and methods, while the spirit of an organization reflects the creativity, engagement, and inspiration of people in the company — its emotional dimension. The strength and interaction of these two forces form the spark for organizational superperformance.”

For the past few years, business has treated the workforce as a necessary evil that drains the company of precious resources, increases costs, and drags down profits. In the lean years, they got away with the “mechanical” approach to layoffs, terminations, and benefit reduction. But the time is coming quickly when all businesses will need the ingenuity, skill, and most importantly, trust of its workforce, if they really want to grow and prosper.

The big question remains; is industry ready to embrace the paradigm shift and move forward or maintain their machines until they run out of replacement parts?

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