‘Fractured Workplace’ Open Book Project

I’m writing a book about the crisis of our modern workplaces and ways to repair them.  I’m doing it as an open book project, because I want to get these ideas out quickly, and because I enjoy and value collaboration.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as it evolves, and consider discussing your ideas about it with me.

Everyone knows that our modern workplaces are in crisis.  They are mostly run under unethical rules and practices which would not be accepted anywhere else in our society.  They routinely give  rise to appalling behaviour, such as workplace bullying, which is somehow regarded as legitimate, in fact essential, in the business environment.  “Nothing personal, just business”, is the justification, wholly immoral and anti-human.

These attitudes and negative values infect every part of modern people management, such as performance metrics and performance management, compensation and rewards, hierarchies, position descriptions, contracts, teams, decision-making–in fact everything to do with the core business of the organization, which is inseparable from its people.  The consequences are widespread, numbing damage, both to people and organizations’ outcomes.  Given that we spend a considerable part of our waking lives in these places, the consequences in lost human potential are appalling, both for individuals and the society as a whole.

I am writing a book about these things, with the aim of developing the remedies to them.  In fact the remedies are not too far away.  In many years of working with organizations, both for profit and non-profit, with Boards, CEO’s, managers, employees, consultants, suppliers, customers, clients–the communities of organizations–I have come to see that given an opportunity the remedies are there in people themselves.  I have been amazed and inspired by what I’ve seen people doing at all levels of organizations to repair toxic workplaces, to make them healthy, mature, collaborative and creative places to work.  This is what the Greeks have called ‘practical wisdom’.  It is the basis of common morality and of all developments that support and grow people in the workplace, and their organizational achievements.

I am writing this as an open book.  My experience over the last couple of decades is that people recognize these principles and welcome them with relief and excitement–to be allowed to think this way is deeply confirming and validating–so I want to open it up as widely as possible.  My experience, too, is that people immediately have ideas and experience they want to contribute, and I would love to hear more of them, from anybody who has something to contribute.  And because I am deeply convinced that the most powerful and valuable work is collaborative, I am open to all your points, whatever they might be–I welcome trenchant debate, experience and ideas different to mine, suggestions for changes of any kind–we are all in this together, and the sooner we get it right, the better.

You can access the chapters as they are posted from the links below, and also from the Category links in the margin.  The Comment field is there in the postings for anything you might want to say.  I look forward very much to your thoughts.  This is an open access, community-based project.  The book that comes out of the process will be openly and easily available to everyone.   Let’s see what we can do together.

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