Re-Humanizing The Workplace
I’ve known Chuck Blakeman for many years. He runs a group for business owners that I participate in called 3to5 Club. There is an educational component, but it’s really just a business owner’s support group. It’s a place to get together and talk about all the challenges of running a business. If you run your own business, I suggest you check it out.
I’ve read a couple of Chuck’s books before. See here and here. Chuck’s first book was about not being a slave to your business. It was about finding a bigger purpose and using your business to achieve that bigger goal. His second book talked about how Industrial Age thinking had perverted our view of work. Chuck’s third book is about the antidote to Industrial Age thinking.
Defining the problem
“Re-Humanizing the WorkPlace” is about how to create a Participation Age company as opposed to an Industrial Age company. The key to that is “giving people their brains back”, or put differently: Treating them like adults and requiring them to make decisions. For more about the Industrial Age versus the Participation Age, see here.
The book starts with a definition of the Industrial Age versus the Participation Age. Then there is a brief study of several companies that have embraced the Participation Age. The goal is to show that the Participation Age is not only good for the workers but good for business as well. It makes the case for leaving the Industrial Age in the trashbin of history where it belongs.
The rest of the book is a series of techniques for making the transition to a Participation Age company. It talks about topics like decision making, hiring, incentives, meetings, and hierarchy. For each section, Chuck explains the Industrial Age view on the topic and dissects what’s wrong with it. Then he counters with the Participation Age take on the topic and gives some examples of how various companies including his own implement these ideas. Lastly, he concludes with some concrete steps to help move your company towards the Participation Age. He acknowledges that you can’t just always come in and change things overnight, so he outlines a process for implementing the change.
I can’t help but compare this book to Peopleware. They are both about taking a people-focused view of business. if you liked that book, you’ll probably also like this one.