“Welcome to the worst decade since the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars of financial assets destroyed; trillions in shareholder value vanished; worldwide GDP stalled. But this isn’t a financial crisis, or even an economic one, says Umair Haque. It’s a crisis of institutions—ideals inherited from the industrial age. These ideals include rampant exploitation of resources, top-down command of resource allocations, withholding of information from stakeholders to control them, and a single-minded pursuit of profit for its own sake. All this has produced “thin value”—short-term economic gains that accrue to some people far more than others, and that don’t make us happier or healthier. It has left resources depleted and has spawned conflict, organizational rigidity, economic stagnation, and nihilism. In “The New Capitalist Manifesto,” Haque advocates a new set of ideals: (1) Renewal: Use resources sustainably to maximize efficiencies, (2) Democracy: Allocate resources democratically to foster organizational agility, (3) Peace: Practice economic non-violence in business, (4) Equity: Create industries that make the least well off better off, and (5) Meaning: Generate payoffs that tangibly improve quality of life. Yes, adopting these ideals requires bold and sustained changes. But some companies—Google, Walmart, Nike—are rising to the challenge. In this bold manifesto, Haque makes an irresistible business case for following their lead.”
It’s the summer of 2009. The recession is in full swing. Employees are working long hours, with few resources, minimal training and sometimes, reduced pay. A study is released by DDI, a talent management firm, saying more than half of US employees plan on looking for another job once the economy improves. Fast-forward 18 months; unemployment is down, GDP is up, the stock market is over 12,000, and companies are hiring.
Now, the boardroom chatter is “how do we keep our valuable talent?” Pre-recession tactics to retain employees won’t work in this post-recession environment. We’re in a new normal. The American worker is burned out, and is beginning to reassess their lives and their options.
I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to email. I’m a people-pleasing Baby Boomer that wants to be on the ball and prove my worth by the speed of my response. On average I check e-mail 30-40 times an hour: It’s the first thing I do in the morning, the last thing I do at night, and the thing I do when the announcement is made it is now safe to use approved electronic devices on airplanes.
Speaking of planes, I recently read on an Atlanta flight an excerpt from John Freeman’s book The Tyranny of E-Mail. If the first step to recovery is awareness, Freeman opened my eyes: