Future Here Now: People-structure
The Big Idea
This week’s Future Here Now installments focus on the question of building new ways to help people connect and develop the capacity to work together — not just ad-hoc, like we do in our daily lives, but intentionally and effectively. I’m drawing on the analogy of Infrastructure — those systems of pipes and wires and roads and bridges that we know are necessary to keep our society and our economy moving. Hence, People-structure.
The Big Idea: Investment needed in People-structure
My husband of 30 (!?!) years lives in a corporate system that figured out decades ago that its ability to make money depended far more on the skills and creativity of its employees than on its ability to make or manufacture anything (in fact, they’ve since outsourced the majority of their manufacturing). This means that he participates in regular training designed to make him and his teams better collaborators. Cultural competency, problem-solving approaches, conflict resolution, difficult conversations….the boxes of binders in our basement give a hint of the amount of effort that company has put into giving their employees the skills to work together as effectively as possible.
And that pays off. Even outside of that company, there’s an almost universal term (at least locally) for the approach to problem-solving that people who have worked at that company almost always demonstrate. You can spot ‘em in 15 minutes, if you know what you’re looking for.
And as much as I like to make fun of them…. damn it, it works. They’re really good at managing teams of people to solve complex problems.
Ironically, this leads to some of the biggest arguments we have at home. Dave is often, frankly, bewildered by what I describe when I come back from working with a government or a small business or a nonprofit.
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