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Monday, May 4, 2009

So many idiots; so little time

So many idiots; so little time
Copyright 2009, Jim Penny
Word count: 488

CNN HLN (could they pack more acronym in there?) broadcasts a tale of woe this evening. Today, we have wars in abundance, virulent flu engulfing the land, sales of dust masks to prevent the flu setting fashion trends in the naive and easily deceived, and the CNN staffers find this other thing. You can even get it on a t-shirt at the CNN web site. Why one would want such a thing is a whole nother matter.

What is this something that rolls my eyes this evening? About three years a couple of people were fired for talking smack about their employer on MySpace. Just now, the case regarding freedom of speech is making the courts and the news.

There are several things here that disturb me.

First, does no one consider any longer where that paycheck comes from? Yes, I love all my clients. Some in their coming, and some in their going. The thing is that all the clients contribute to my income, even those who worry me, and for that reason, even the difficult clients get their respect.

Yes, our bosses make some dumbass decisions. You would too, and probably with even greater dumbassedness were you elevated to the boss-position. That mountain from which our vision should be clearer is often shrouded by clouds. The people who study leadership call it the “miasma of leadership.” Did you eve stop to think why the president of this fair land has so many advisors?

The naughty comments were protected from general view by passwords. Password protected text is generally protected by federal privacy laws and freedom of speech. However, I'd guess that the fired people logged onto the bitch-and-moan site while at work. Folks, freedom of speech does not exist at work. Yes, that irritates me too.

Yet, these are the minor points. There's a far greater learning here, but it will likely be lost. I'm not convinced that, as humans, we can function well enough to seize such moments for what they are.

What if the bosses involved had taken a deep breath, maybe cussed a little, and then met with the people to find solutions for the problems that were motivating the pissing and moaning? It is unlikely that those problems existed in isolation. With a few notable exceptions, problems that lead to employee carping as described are systemic to an organization.

Such an approach would have left the organization strengthened and the employees with a vested interest in further success. If the problem-solving failed, the employees would have separated from the company, likely with less animosity. Instead, we have court costs, attorney fees, lost wages, lost productivity, and surely continued and less than pleasant press coverage on the national news.

The time for old school, paternalistic, paranoid management has passed us. We can be smarter than this.

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