What Went Wrong – And Lead into Crisis

On Tom Peter’s Blog I have found an self-reflecting post and a good discussion about the question, „what went wrong“ (→ A New Generation Gap and → Comments). This inspired me to own thoughts.

Tom Peter’s View

At current, the baby boomers are on the steering wheels of our economies. He thinks, this generation created a large mess that will make the next generation being worse off than our generation. He attributes the following reasons to this development:

  1. Especially high level of greed in all levels of society, and often at the costs of the public,
  2. Profit was confused with value, and unreflected profit maximization destroyed much of our enterprises potential to survive a downturn,
  3. To many managers making their career to the ranks from finance, and too few leaders,
  4. Missing ability of our generation to work hard, and to suffer.

Additional Thoughts

I think that the following reasons should be added:

  1. Something, which I call „Missing corporate bones, and the lack of employees with a critical view„: Many enterprises and namely our performance management systems have favored the development of boneless executors, instead of creative personalities.
  2. Though execution is clearly necessary, a pure execution-oriented culture hinders people to question system or strategy, and it educates them to simply follow. An organization in this state has difficulties to detect situations in which something goes wrong. Instead of boneless executing organizations, we need organizations, which constantly challenges and questions its leaders.
  3. Too much power in the hands of too few: Many companies organize themselves around an (inherited) master – slave approach. The problem with such an approach is that this leads to situations, in which people do not react, although they see a development into a wrong direction. Instead, we need a culture of respect, and openness. We further need participation.
  4. An KPI oriented management, in which management substitutes the full understanding of the real problems of their employees with KPIs:  We allowed managers to focus on too few aspects of business, such as management, strategy, and meetings. In the meantime, it is evident that several managers do not understand the jobs of their employees. They have not created a product with their own hands, or they have never talked to an angy customer for a very long time. This orientation hinders managers to understand how the wheels turn in reality. Instead of KPI oriented management, we need grounded managers.

The other points I leave to your discussion. Feel free to add your view.

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