But who cares?


It’s your move.

The foreword to A Passion for Excellence, written by Tom Peters and Nancy Austin and published in 1985, remarks that few people who buy management books actually read them. They said the ratio of people who really dig into such books as theirs is “dispiritingly low.” We have not learned much in the last 30 years.

This is key to understanding why so many organizations flaunt their mediocrity. The United States as a whole is moving in this direction.

This blog is an element in my search for people who buy a book on excellence and actually read it. Maybe they underline passages in it. Maybe the dust jacket wears out from being handled so much.

One of my favorite books is a college text titled The Organizational Behavior Reader. Few managers, and probably even fewer executives, are attuned to the concept of organizational behavior. There are rules in place, and they expect people to behave accordingly. Enough said. The fact is that organizations are a collection of systems that influence and depend on each other. The way they are structured, and the way they are treated, make a tremendous difference to the level of excellence achievable by the whole enterprise.

My main fear for our nation is that mediocrity is widely accepted, and even justified. I have more than 500 posts on this blog, and I have not generated any conflict that I know of.

Who cares?

2 thoughts on “But who cares?

  1. Dan,

    I wanted to note the delivery of your closing words, “who cares?” – spot on in leaving a thought-provoking cliff hanger.

    That’s the problem with collectives, or ‘systems of organization’. An issue can always be thought to be someone else’s problem, as ‘ownership’ is inherently antithetical. These systematic rules in place are what’s known as the status quo, generally. For better or worse they are entrenched mechanisms not easily done away with. You’ll know who ‘cares’ when motions are made by great individuals to break conventional wisdom and do away with antiquated systems. People would rather be complacent, as it’s easier to stomach societal or organizational shifts than fight it; think mob mentality. They are comfortable with the status quo, in any aspect of their lives.

    Who cares?

    Responsible, accountable, altruistic individuals ask, “If not me, then who?”

  2. You have great insights! We rely too much on conventional wisdom, and we have done so for all the years I’ve been on the planet. I have a book in my library with the title Radical Management. It’s more dream than reality. Thanks for your comments!

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