Your REAL Job
Students of Ackoff and Deming will be aware of Deming’s First Theorem:
“Nobody gives a hoot about profit.”
W. E. Deming
This reminds us that senior executives are demonstrably less interested in the welfare of the organisations they serve than in their own well being.
“Executives’ actions make sense [only] if you look at them as taken in order to maximise the executive’s well being.”
~ Russell L. Ackoff
Of course, it can be career-limiting to bring this issue to general attention. As the well-known psychiatrist R D Laing said:
“They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.”
~ R. D. Laing
And yet, if we look at the implications for “doing a good job” – a preoccupation of many in employment, we can draw the following conclusion:
We’re doing a good job when we’re maximising our executives’ (our bosses’) well being. We’re not doing a good job when we ignore that in favour of focussing on e.g. making the company successful or profitable. This probably rings true with you if you but think about it, in your own context, for a few moments.
This underscores a hidden reality for many: our declared job is a FAUX job. Our REAL job is undeclared, unexamined, unspecified – and being good at THAT is therefore a matter of pure dumb luck and random chance. How often do you have a conversation with your senior executives about how you might contribute to maximising their well being? How can we attend to their needs – as folks that matter – without such a dialogue?
Nobody Gives a Hoot About Profit ~ The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog post