STEPHEN COVEY’S 8TH HABIT | SEASON 6 – EPISODE 7 | The Thing Mindset of the industrial age

“The most important, and indeed the truly unique, contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the MANUAL WORKER in manufacturing.

The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is similarly to increase the productivity of KNOWLEDGE WORK and the KNOWLEDGE WORKER.

The most valuable assets of a 20th-century company were its production equipment. The most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity”

Excerpt From: Stephen R. Covey. “The 8th Habit.”

Great historian stated that a long time ago. There’s no doubt that industrial age workers are still important, but given the fact that knowledge age workers still have a significant amount of income and have created their own economy (student I just met and her story in my podcast) goes to show you that being an industrial worker is no longer sustainable.

“The main assets and primary drivers of economic prosperity in the Industrial Age were machines and capital—things. People were necessary but replaceable. You could control and churn through manual workers with little consequence—supply exceeded demand. You just got more able bodies that would comply with strict procedures. People were like things—you could be efficient with them. When all you want is a person’s body and you don’t really want their mind, heart or spirit (all inhibitors to the free-flowing processes of the machine age), you have reduced a person to a thing.

So many of our modern management practices come from the Industrial Age.

It gave us the belief that you have to control and manage people.

It gave us our view of accounting, which makes people an expense and machines assets. Think about it. People are put on the P&L statement as an expense; equipment is put on the balance sheet as an investment.”

“It gave us our carrot-and-stick motivational philosophy—the Great Jackass technique that motivates with a carrot in front (reward) and drives with a stick from behind (fear and punishment).

It gave us centralized budgeting—where trends are extrapolated into the future and hierarchies and bureaucracies are formed to drive “getting the numbers”—an obsolete reactive process that produces “kiss-up” cultures bent on “spending it so we won’t lose it next year” and protecting the backside of your department.”

Excerpt From: Stephen R. Covey. “The 8th Habit.”
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