Before reading further, please follow this link: Sir Ken Robinson – Changing Education Paradigms. Sir Ken Robinson discusses changing the education paradigms and lays out a genetic heritage in modern schools. This same model applies to modern business and the discussion here is to shift the business employment paradigm. The reason is simple; Dauten (2003) discusses it and makes this proclamation, “Accept that organizations call to the worst in human nature, and be LIBERATED by that knowledge.” [Emphasis mine] Happiness is a choice.
As happiness is a choice, all emotion is a choice. The choice is individual in nature and comes as a response to external stimuli in the environment. Emotional choices build upon previous choices, snowballing into consequences affecting more than the individual and current environment. Like ripples on a pond, enough ripples and waves appear; enough waves and danger to small craft can occur. Emotional choices are similar to ripples on a pond increasing in size and frequency until damage occurs.
Dauten (2003) goes on to describe some interesting points in his book, ‘The Laughing Warriors: How to Enjoy Killing the Status Quo,’ namely, the genetics of why organizations continue to experience the same problems, the same genetics mentioned by Sir Ken Robinson. These genetic problems are historical in nature, aggravated by government influence, multiplied by labor unions, and are 100% correctable through simplification and shifting the paradigm.
America learned early in the Industrial Revolution from those who considered themselves “enlightened” how to form organizational cultures. Although the process was de-humanizing, the culture worked, to some extent, early in the Industrial Revolution, but the core problems in the genetic make up had not been addressed. These enlightened founders of organizations knew the process was incomplete, stated their perceptions were not the full answer, and hoped those following would take the beginning they established and improve upon the design. Dauten (2003) declares, rightly, “… People are hardwired for mediocrity and conformity.” From this genetic make up comes bureaucracy, which supports more fear, and more conformity promotes mediocrity shunning change and learning in an attempt to cling bitterly to that which vexes all men, bureaucracy.
Consider the functioning culture of the Department of Motor Vehicles, Veteran’s Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, or any other behemoth bureaucratic organization that exhibits an organizational culture born from inefficiency, duplicity of work, lack of interest and enthusiasm, lack of desire to please, lack of accountability and responsibility, and much more, which causes impediment of work accomplishment, slow service, and often outright aggravation. The example is clear; Dauten (2003) is correct; there is a genetic code calling for people to build inadequately designed organizations that down trod and digress rather than uplift and progress. The functioning of such monolithic, controlling, inadequately structured organizations absorbs resources, devalues people, and almost repels change. Change is feared; thus the tool of free people everywhere remains, initiate, demand, and force change.
The answer to resolving organizationally fed genetic bureaucracy is shifting the paradigms. Paradigm is defined as a model or pattern. One example of a paradigm is hierarchy, or work flow and command structure in a business organization. Often linear hierarchy is the only method of describing this structure. Shifting from a linear hierarchical structure to a circle hierarchy, parallel hierarchy, or eliminating hierarchy all together is, more often than not, unfathomable. Thus, organizational psychology holds the answer to improving organizational dilemmas in shifting the hierarchy paradigm. The topics of “Change Management,” “Organizational Communication,” or “Hierarchical Structure” fall into a simple paradigm in the purview of organizational psychologists intent on improving people to improve performance in business organizations. More simply put, organizational psychologists review the genetic bureaucracy and help people rewire their individual response to environmental stimuli. Dauten (2003) calls this the process of becoming a “Happy Warrior” “… intent on killing the status quo.”
Shifting the employment paradigm requires business leaders to consider letting go of the outdated term and perception of employee to focusing on people and their crafts. At the same time, employees must let go of the genetic assumption that they are incapable of being a boss, being creative, or improving the job while working at the job. Letting go of these thoughts and gaining control of their rights to control their own destiny is essential to the success of the individual as well as the organization. The Federal Government took the ‘Right to Control’ away from individuals, making them subservient to employers, and shifted the paradigm of control into an unnatural environment. This single action has caused myriad problems, which bear fruit in the organizational culture, hierarchy, and societal problems in our modern world.
The natural order, provided to man from a higher being, is the individual right to control one’s own destiny. The Declaration of Independence clearly delineates this natural order and describes man’s ‘pursuit of happiness.’ Once the ‘Right to Control’ was removed from the individual, the unforeseen consequences included groupthink, box thinking, drones forming larger bureaucracies, run-away mediocrity, unbridled conformity, and stifled creativity.
Shifting the employment paradigm should not need a ‘Declaration of Independence’ to bring attention to the need for change, but, if proclaiming independence through a declaration raises awareness to the problem and success is achieved, then employees the world over should ascribe. The basic tenets of a declaration of employee independence should include:
- The ‘Right to Control’ – Individuals want it back from their employers, unions, and government. This ‘Right to Control’ comes with the following:
- Schedule freedom
- Remuneration for knowledge attainment
- Control of the working environment
- The power to affect change
- Hierarchical Organization
- Benefits that possess value – Cost and value are not the same and the new knowledge worker recognizes this fact.
- Win-Win – Providing services in exchange for money requires a “Win-Win” scenario. Thus, the organization wins workers, the workers win an organization to serve, both parties remain independent, and both parties can negotiate changes to improve.
- Responsibility to:
- Be treated as a knowledge worker
- Treat others as knowledge workers
- Level the knowledge playing field through acquiring new knowledge
- Experimenting to drive value
- Valuing experimentation in others’ performances
- Honor – Work is honorable.
It remains imperative of the worker to take what is valuable to him/her and add these points into the conversation. The business organization also must present that which they value and bring their points, ideas, requirements, into the conversation. Thus, through the power of negotiation and debate, the employment paradigm is shifted.
Dauten, D. (2003). The Laughing Warriors: How to enjoy killing the status quo. Richmond, CA: Lumina Media.
© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury
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