LO and Western Thought LO7613

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
26 May 96 00:43:48 EDT

Replying to LO7568 --

Re: LO and Western Thought LO7568

Bill said,

"My point was that many managers seemed threatened by new ways to doing
things, whatever we call it (TQM, reingeneering, LO's) and it would take a
might self confident trusting person to embrace these when a less astute
and most likely cost conscious upper management asks "Why do I need this
person anymore?" Evidence abounds where managers are going away... One
way to make the transition to a new way of working is to remove the fear
factor, otherwise all you will get is compliance rather than
commitmentment to the new way.."

There are two issues here. One is the fear that if I eliminate my job,
then obviously I won't have a job, so I need to avoid letting anyone know
that I actually don't need to do all the work I am doing.

The second is the issue of feeling threatened by new ways of doing things,
which you reference above.

My point is that paradoxically, the person who shows a willingness to try
the new things and take risks is exactly the kind of person that most
forward-looking corporations would love to hire. Therefore, the fear of
eliminating my job is frequently a baseless fear, and is more likely to
lead to exactly the outcome -- loss of job -- that the fearful person
wishes to avoid.

The second issue you raise is that people -- not just managers, but all
people -- are threatened by new ways of doing things. Sometimes this fear
is justified by referring to well-publicized downsizings. My guess is
that the fear of change is one of those fundamental fears that exists
among all people regardless of the threat of downsizing.

One reason managers need not feel threatened by downsizing -- not that it
couldn't happen -- is that research shows that it is not much of a threat.
Most of that material is contained in a thread called 'LO and Big Layoffs'
if you want to read more details.

In a nutshell, research -- not news reports -- has shown that the number
of middle managers is unchanged over the last 15 years. More recently,
Business Week reports that tenure in a company is virtually unchanged in
the last 15 years. In other words, the number of people who have been
with a company 4 years or longer has not changed since 1980. So much for
high job turnover. Middle manager unemployment is 2% versus a total
unemployment rate of 5.8%. Middle managers are a scarce resource --
especially the risk-takers. One can be seriously misled by using
newspapers as research journals.

Interestingly, despite all the hoopla at AT&T about laying off 48,000
people, a recent news report said that so far, their net employment had
declined by less than 5,000. I'm waiting for the headlines to proclaim


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc. 76234.3636@compuserve.com

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>