The real assets

The culture of many organizations often prevents employees, from top management on down, from trying anything new, anything out of the ordinary. They are too often trained to be simply caretakers, climbing the corporate ladder, not by being innovative, not by being creative, but by sticking rigidly to the status quo, unwilling to take the slightest risk lest it fail.

Why? What is the underlying factor that disallows managers the freedom to have either themselves or their staffs put forth their best effort? Most organizations would agree that the employee herself, whether manager or line employee, is the single most important element in the corporate environment. There is general agreement that the relative significance of those easily measured particulars in the corporate plan, the operation costs, the feasibility studies, the market surveys, etc., those elements of the business that can be readily tracked and recorded pale when considered alongside the importance of the people the company employs. And yet, Corporate America often seems obsessed with studying, refining and improving those other bottom-line components while cultivation of that more important resource, the human resource, goes begging.

Is this simply because few managers know how to study, analyze and improve the human factor? Is human behavior so complex and measuring, evaluating, or tracking it with any traditional paradigm is impossible and the creation of a new standard too baffling? And, therefore, can American Corporations be accused of attempting to take the easy road when addressing key internal issues, the road that appears easiest to repair, while leaving the highway that carries the greatest traffic in a state of ruin because the task to fix it is viewed as either too difficult or as too enigmatic to attempt?

Unfortunately, this dilemma forces many companies into the trap of trying to regulate the elusive human component by imposing stricter and stricter controls upon it. In my opinion this is a great waste of a business’s number one resource. Managers have to manage, of course, but too many controls blunt creativity. I have seen time and again that instead of creating order, arbitrary authoritarian policies create fear.

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