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« How delighting the client overcame impossible odds: Qatar & the 2022 World Cup | Main | Putting the meaning back into work »

January 01, 2011


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Joe McCarthy

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one of my favorite books (and the source of inspiration for naming my Typepad blog). I re-read it at least once every decade, and each time, new insights are revealed.

Another book I periodically revisit is George Orwell's 1984. In my most recent reading, I was struck by a cycle he describes that is very similar to what you've written here. I'll include some relevant excerpts from my blog post review of the book:

Many of these ideas are expressed in a book that is banned in Oceania -- often referred to as the book, or "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism", allegedly written by Emanuel Goldstein, the allegedly traitorous archenemy of Big Brother:

"Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle and the Low. ... The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim -- for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives -- is to abolish all distinctions in which all men shall be equal."

Over time, the High become inefficient, insecure, or otherwise ineffective (e.g., being too "liberal or cowardly" or unwilling to use adequate force) at governing, the Middle seize the opportunity and enlist the aid of the Low to rise up against the High, on the premise of liberty and justice for all, after which elements from the Middle become the new High, and the Low are relegated to their former status, and the cycle starts up again.

Bryan Murphy

I agree entirely. For me the key questions relate to cultural norms and values . What changes are required in the value system to drive the culture so that one day organizations will be able to say (radical management ) this is the way we do it around here.
What will be the catalyst that will drive the values and cultural change required to adopt radical management?

David Phillips

At last we get to the point. This simple word 'values'.

Management and corporate values are at the heart of these discussions.

People migrate towards values held in common. It is the magnetic power that creates relationships.

The appeal of being of a group is a very powerful motivator.

Corporate management with well known and explicit values will attract and motivate other people with similar values and people (employees) then do have 'real jobs'.

The trivia and obfuscation, the mumbo jumbo of management gurus, marketers and company notices all conspire against relationships but the solution is really very simple.

I began this research several years ago ( and now a number of my students have taken the work forward ( We do have a way forward.

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