[Paleopsych] The Death of Mean

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Tue Jun 14 14:54:20 UTC 2005

Starting some years ago, we started
to hear a lot about "lean and mean"

As a business person, I understand
the value of lean organizations that
generate more revenue for less cost.

As a human, I have never understood
the pairing of lean with "mean."

This choice of words bespeaks a dark
approach to dealing with the world.

At least since Sun Tzu leaders have
understood that their ultimate success
depends on the willing cooperation
of their followers.

In the last two decades business has
come to think that beating people up
is the best way to get them to perform.

The result is a corporate world peopled 
by foot-draggers who hang on because 
there are no other choices.

This has resulted in the shortening
of CEO tenures, and a downward spiral
of declining profits and endless layoffs.

How will we get out of this?

Eventually the boards of public companies
will see what has been going on and look
for leaders with a more humanitarian bent.

As to when this will happen, I have no
idea.  In terms of income and perks, things
have never been better for the folks in the
corner offices.

For 80% of Americans, though, incomes
are stagnant or declining.  This is resulting
in fewer purchases, and this will eventually
show up in the P&L's of the meanies.

Steve Hovland

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