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6 Separating Action from Meaning The Legacy of Efficiency

Briskin, Alan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Then he was told:

Remember what you have seen,
because everything forgotten
returns to the circling winds
.
Lines from a Navajo chant (Cousineau, 1993)

Frederick Taylor’s legacy is with us in all areas of organizational and corporate life. Each time we determine an appropriate degree of centralization and standardization, we make choices about how individuals will be allowed to think on their own. Each new technological breakthrough has implications for how work will be performed and whether human labor will still be needed. Each new attempt at work redesign holds within it assumptions about how people derive meaning from work and how individuals will relate to a larger system. We cannot distance ourselves from the social forces behind efficiency—the history of the power struggle, the rationale for work redesign, the methods for control over employees—because we are still subject to their influence.

Each time we struggle with the question of why employees still do not “think” or seem too preoccupied with their job descriptions or cannot work well with others, we face Taylor’s legacy of efficiency in the workplace. Taylor was fond of telling workers, “You’re not supposed to think; there are other people paid for thinking around here.” He said this to be provocative and often followed his comment by engaging in a heated conversation with workers over this principle. His point was that work had become so complex and the knowledge of how it was best performed so precise that both laborer and manager benefited from allowing a third party, the efficiency engineer, to be the arbitrator of best practices. He could not foresee how seriously his injunction not to think would become woven into the unwritten rules of the workplace. Why should employees think when their tools were taken from them, when their physical behavior at work was determined by someone else, when their time was no longer their own?138

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Medium 9781626560437

2 Ten Benefits of Becoming a B Corp

Honeyman, Ryan Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In addition to B Corps’ importance to the big picture, there are ten benefits to becoming a Certified B Corporation that relate more directly to you and your business. For example, B Corp certification sets you apart as a thought leader, distinguishes your business in a crowded market, and helps associate your brand with some of the most socially and environmentally responsible companies on the planet. The particular benefits that are most attractive to you will vary depending on your industry, your goals and objectives, and where you are in the life cycle of your business (e.g., whether you are seeking capital, entering a new market, or planning for succession).

I was most attracted to the quality of the community. When I found out that Dansko, King Arthur Flour, Method, and Seventh Generation were Certified B Corporations, I had no doubt that I also was going to certify my company. I had found a group of like-minded, innovative, and dynamic entrepreneurs who shared my core values. I had found my “tribe.”

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Medium 9781576752326

2 Positive Organizational Studies: Lessons from Positive Psychology

Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

Chapter 2

Positive Organizational

Studies: Lessons from

Positive Psychology

Christopher M. Peterson and

Martin E. P. Seligman

The field of positive psychology was christened in 1998 as one of the initiatives of Martin Seligman in his role as president of the American Psychological Association (APA) (Seligman, 1998b, 1999). The trigger for positive psychology was the premise that psychology since World War II has focused much of its efforts on human problems and how to remedy them. In the immediate aftermath of the war, clinical psychology took form as a profession; the APA became involved in accrediting clinical psychology programs and in lobbying state governments to enact licensing laws; the

Veterans Administration created training opportunities in the form of clinical psychology internships; and the National Institute of Mental Health made available to researchers many millions of dollars in grant support for investigations not of mental health but of mental illness (Reisman, 1991).

Psychology joined forces with psychiatry to create the scientific field of what could go wrong with people.

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Medium 9781576751909

How Empowered are Your Actions?

McLagan, Patricia Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Here is a list of the skills from Part III (“Powerful Actions”). Rate each as follows:

1=Major weakness

2=Minor weakness

3=Neither a strength nor weakness

4=Moderate strength

5=Major strength

____    1.    I know the products, services, and information I can deliver.

____    2.    I am very productive, constantly eliminating irrelevant work.

____    3.    I regularly set goals and get feedback from people who get my work.

____    4.    I have strong networks that help me get work done and solve problems.

____    5.    I take time to think about and prepare for the future.

____    6.    I know and continually develop my core competencies.

____    7.    I simultaneously focus on short- and long-term interests and goals.

____    8.    I work with others in a way that builds relationships and creates open, two-way exchanges of ideas and information.

____    9.    I am adept at solving problems and making decisions.

____    10.    I use effective thinking techniques for different situations: critical, creative, and systemic (big picture) thinking.

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Medium 9781576751794

CHAPTER 25: THERAPISTS

Levine, Stewart Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I have one thing to say, one thing only… and I ask you to remember it: In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you have.

—Robert James Waller, Bridges of Madison County

I remember the power with which Clint Eastwood delivered that line in the movie. The quote contrasts the wisdom a therapist friend once shared when I was in a very distressed state. He guaranteed me I would have clarity—AFTER!

I remember reading about the personal therapy experience called Same Time Next Week10 in a memorable book of the same name. The book was written for the public by a therapist who had the same critique for his colleagues as I have for many lawyers. The implication of the title is that people keep coming back next week to talk some more, with no promise or plan for specific results. In other words, people are paying for the professionals to put them through a process without any promise of personal results. Fortunately, consumers have become better educated, and the process of personal therapy is now so commonplace, no stigma is attached. Input from both therapists and patients brings things into the light, and the open discussion has suggested that for many people in therapy a short-term, results-oriented engagement is the best tack.

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