People are our Most Important Asset…

That is the ‘espoused’ theory in just about every business I have EVER worked in or consulted for. It says it on the web site and in the annual report so it must be true.

But the theory in practice is usually a very different one.

  • People are a controllable cost
  • People are interchangeable parts – just fulfilling job descriptions
  • ‘Good people’ require little or no management time (“You want me to spend 30 minutes a week looking after our most important asset? Don’t you know I’ve got problems to sort out…Any way they know what they are doing and wnat me getting in the way…”)
  • ‘Mediocre people’ require little or no management time (“They do a decent job – as long as I don’t expect them to take initiative, make things better or use their common sense”).
  • ‘Bad people’ eat up hours of management time (“I have to be on their backs all the time – the problem is that you can’t sack anyone in this organisation…”)

This theory in action is a little bit like the moonwalking bear. Unless you look for it you won’t know its there.

Sorting out these problems requires a bit of structure, some commitment and a fair bit of courage.

Entrepreneurship and community development

Imagine a community that is seeking to develop itself.

Now imagine that you were given the chance to bring 100 people to the community. You had to choose between:

  • 100 artists
  • 100 politicians
  • 100 planners
  • 100 entrepreneurs
  • 100 writers
  • 100 scientists
  • 100 engineers
  • 100 inventors

Which group would you choose?


In Praise of Praise – Wally Bock

 Power of Praise

Wally Bock has written a great post on the power of praise in management.  It includes sections on:

  • What we know about praise
  • What we know about how to give good praise, and
  • Why don’t managers praise more?

If you find giving affirming feedback difficult – or just want to get better at it then have a look at his post.