As the worldwide workforce continues to mature toward the higher reaches of Maslow’s hierarchy, the status quo is no longer sufficient to provide the functional paradigm upon which individuals and organizations can achieve successful organizational change and performance.
My recent experience has been in the “lean” movement. As more and more organizations adopt the lean philosophy in the military, and the private and public sectors, I believe it is important to explore what happens at the nexus of lean practices and human motivation. Perhaps there are examples of organic symbiosis. I have, however, observed that organic symbiosis between lean paradigms and individual self-actualization and self-transcendence is not a given. In other words, I have observed that it is still possible for individuals operating in a lean construct to be treated like cogs, which I believe has the potential to undermine the durability and health of organizations and people.
I remain optimistic that with the right skills, organizations new and old alike can learn how to develop the skills necessary and change their cultures to remain competitive, while at the same time creating workplaces where people feel satisfied in their work and confident in their leadership. However, given the complexity of the world we live in, I believe it will take experts in both lean philosophy and humanistic practices in order for organizations to reach their full potential. In subsequent posts, I will explore these practices, and share articles and posts from others that address the humanistic side of work. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well!