11 Mar

In post-Sox environment, as organisations try to increasingly codify all processes, define norms of behaviour, prescribe ways of working and increasingly define rigid boundaries of what can & cannot be done, and how, they ironically kill off the very skills & behaviours required to thrive in the increasingly globalised, aggressively competitive business arena.

Seth Godin calls the management by fear, intimidation, rules & “well-defined processes” by the evocative term Sheepwalking:

I define “sheepwalking” as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.
…It’s ironic but not surprising that in our age of increased reliance on new ideas, rapid change and innovation, sheepwalking is actually on the rise. That’s because we can no longer rely on machines to do the brain-dead stuff.
…many organizations go out of their way to hire people that color inside the lines, that demonstrate consistency and compliance. And then they give these people jobs where they are managed via fear. Which leads to sheepwalking.
…The fault doesn’t lie with the employee, at least not at first. And of course, the pain is often shouldered by both the employee and the customer.
…When you hire amazing people and give them freedom, they do amazing stuff.
And the sheepwalkers and their bosses just watch and shake their heads, certain that this is just an exception, and that it is way too risky for their industry or their customer base.

And they continue watching, and shaking their collective heads, as they hurtle towards oblivion, while at the same time complaining of lack of qualified talent, the high attrition rates driven by fickle behaviour of today’s “ungrateful/disloyal” employees, and the pressure on their margins.

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Posted by on March 11, 2007 in Biz/Tech, Career, Quotes


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