From the Manager’s Desk
Dear Joanne, today it is Friday, and I have still not received your three breakthrough ideas for this week. Please send me a mail, so we can discuss it in our team meeting on Monday morning.
I have wondered many times why employers are so wary to tell their employees to come up with ideas. Bosses do not have any problems to give employees tasks, or to evaluate their performances periodically. However, I have never come across an evaluating form of the skill to come up with ideas.
Managers are used to coordinate and control the workflow, but I am not aware of any management book about how to coordinate the thinking of the workforce. I believe that is strange, because, as we transcended to the Information Age, what to do with all that information? Thinking should be a priority. Mental intellectual activity regarding ideas, concepts, imagination, worldviews, and mental models are required to deal with the new challenges.
It seems to me, that we still suffer from the aftermath of the Scientific Management approach, devised by Taylor. In his view there should be a division between workers (blue-collar workers, named after their blue overalls) and white-collar workers. White collars work in the main-office, their task is to think about “what and how” the Blue Collars job should be carried out. In the Industrial Age, many white-collar workers were involved in Time Motion Studies to program the worker with the most efficient movements, mostly at an assembly line.
Other than in the traditional industry, the work became divided between “thinkers” and “workers” who were not supposed to have any idea about the work to be performed.
However, in 1943, a short propaganda film was produced to encourage workers to send in suggestions for more effective war production. The idea took post that workers could well have ideas and in-depth knowledge about the workflow in which they are involved. Watch this 15-minute film and get a glimpse about the aftermath of the Industrial Age. Click on the link to watch the film Suggestion Box (1945
However, coming up with ideas was, and still is, not an obligation for the worker, but a voluntary act, which should be rewarded.
If we approaching The Conceptual Age, where creativity, innovation and design skills will be decisive for competitiveness in a global context, there is a need to restore the worker in her ability to think and come up with new ideas and concepts. In her original state of a craftsman like before the Industrial Age.
But maybe this should not be voluntary. It should not be part of a bonus or otherwise rewarded. It should be part of the work. Something that will be required from the participants in any organization on a regular base. An item in job descriptions and part of the yearly evaluation. Everyone will will be tested on her skill to generate ideas. . .
Thanks, if you have really read this blog post and you like it, please do one of the following:
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- If you are really feeling excellent, we would appreciate your thoughts and comments on this. And if you are being evaluated for your skills to come up with ideas, we loved to hear about it. . .
Photo: “Ideas Key On Computer Screen Showing Creativity” by Stuart Miles