Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Losing Andrew Carnegie (reposted)

This article was posted on Seth Godins's Blog. Since it is short and sweet, I figured I'd repost it here and comment.

Andrew Carnegie apparently said, "Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors......Take away my factories, but leave my people and soon we will have a new and better factory."

Is there a typical large corporation working today that still believes this? Most organizations now have it backwards. The factory, the infrastructure, the systems, the patents, the process, the manual... that's king. In fact, shareholders demand it.

It turns out that success is coming from the atypical organizations, the ones that can get back to embracing irreplaceable people, the linchpins, the ones that make a difference. Anything else can be replicated cheaper by someone else.

I often (wish to be able to) describe myself as the Dale Carnegie, Zig Zigler, and Stephen Covey of the IT world. There are so many powerful people who have written books that have shaped many an executive. What I want to do is take these works and apply them to IT. A perfect example is how we have tried to fix the IT world with SOPs and Processes such as ISO 9000, Six Sigma, CMMI and etc. We (in IT) try to make up for lack of skill and resources by embracing processes. Processes are good, however they do not make the employee. We must focus on hiring the right person for the right job. We must lose the paradigm that states all people can be trained to perform any task. We need to focus on who and what IT is. After all I can't expect to become a heart surgeon from reading SOP's and OJT. I need to go to medical school first!

If you are tired of the fire fight....get proactive. Don't just say it, do it!


TommyBoy said...

Good post! I just finished discussing the importance of people in an organization. People make the company and enable its success. It is important for organizations to realize that and not view personnel as a commodity.
People are hired into an organization based on their fit and function -- the skills, competencies, and credentials they bring to the organization to fulfill a job requirement. From there it is up to the organization to train the people, provide tools for them to be successful, empower them to act on behalf of the organization by taking ownership, and cultivate the personnel so they can grow. Doing so is usually executed as part of a human capital management process. The result is employees that are personally rewarded for their contribution to the organization, increased job satisfaction, and growth opportunities. The benefit to the organization is a reduction in staff turnover and an increase in employee morale.
So, back to the point, people are the number one asset of the organization and should be treated as such. Retain good personnel and a new factory will be built.

Jerry Rhoads said...

Great reply Tom! Glad to know someone is reading my blog.