Corporate Entropies

What is distinctly human is most delicate, and so is the first to disappear when decadence sets in.   So the person always deteriorates first into a machine, which is simply a thing that will function by logic without the intervention of mind.    So also, groups of people deteriorate, first, into a bureaucracy, which is just what an organization looks like in machine form.    And most groups of people embrace this decadence intentionally.

You can guarantee a result by building a machine.   Bureaucratic features in an organization are usually the result of attempts to elevate outcomes by standardizing procedures.  If you’ve been any kind of manager, you know how necessary this feels as you try to cope with the idiocy of lazy workers.  You must — must! — build your logic into the organization in such a way that nobody can mess up the result.  You need a machine.   This is an understandable impulse, but dangerous.   Make sure you give the workers who want to remain human a pathway  to subvert your own machine.

Most laziness in a service company is not in the form of a reluctance to work.  It is, rather, in the form of a reluctance to treat customers like humans, because everything is easy compared to an I-Thou moment.  The hardest part of life is to be human with humans.   The lazy people on the front lines of your company will actually LOVE to work, when work is all the impersonal processes that constitute their jobs.   But when they have to step outside the machine to make an encounter truly human, that takes more energy in 5 minutes than the previous 7 hours 55 minutes took.

So “lazy” is actually the accurate term for “hiding behind policy and procedure”.

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