- 'Dad can you help me with my maths homework.'
- 'Dad I'm going out I don't know where I am going or what time I'll be back.'
- 'Dad I'm just going to use the phone I won't be on it long.'
- 'You've won a weeks free accommodation in Florida, call this premium rate phone number to Croatia to find out more.'
- Can you cook the meal tonight I'm going out?'
- 'I'm calling from BT to tell you about our new calling rates.'
- 'People are our greatest asset'
The last phrase sends shivers down my spine as it often associated with not investing in any other physical asset to enable staff to do their job with any degree of efficiency. There is also the proudly uttered 'We are investors in people' - great, but can you get a new biro from the fearsome Keepers Of The Stationery or more paper for the photocopier, can you hell as like.
You see, from my perspective, telling your employees that they are the company's greatest asset and then actively preventing them from undertaking the job they are paid to do by not giving them the correct tools is, well, unfortunately far too common. And if organisations are not actively preventing the staff doing their job then, by not fixing the problems, they clearly are condoning the whole can of wiggly things. I know that W Edwards Deeming covered all this back in the 50's so I won't go on about it (well not more than I am already doing) - but in my experience most people come to work with the intention of doing a good job, or at least the one they are paid to do, and then spend the day fighting the system which seems intent in preventing them doing exactly that. This is also true of volunteer work as well where the great British spirit of muddling through is alive and well and being honed to new levels of muddling not hitherto considered possible.
And then the recession.
'Get rid of people and get rid of them now'
'But I thought people were our greatest asset?
'Who said that, I never said that, I hate people, they are a liability, there are too many people around me I feel crowded get rid of them, preferably lots of them and they are drinking too much coffee and eating my biscuits. And shred those pictures of kittens and puppies, they make me feel nauseous.'
'But without people we will not be able to provide the high level of service to our customers that we, er, like to pretend we are delivering.'
'You still here, just lose the people and quickly. And you can go too.'
Well that is Capitalism for you I suppose, in all its ruthlessness, but when you hear of all the people now without jobs, and know there is more to come, it sort of reminds me of the first letter I ever had making me redundant - 'You are surplus to requirements'.
That's not how you deal with your greatest asset, that's how you treat a filing cabinet.