Employee Engagement: The Soviet Lesson
One of the very first major articles I had published over 20 years ago was titled, “Thanks Boris and Mikhail, The Soviet Lesson for American Business.” I wrote it shortly after Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev had been instrumental in the collapse and dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991.
The message was clear: if you try to control people and try to centrally plan everything, you are destined to failure. And, I argued, the vast majority of businesses apply principles more aligned with the Soviet Union than with those of a genuine free market system.
At the human level setting up a management system designed to control people, whether be it for a profit-making venture or for a government entity, removes the natural human drivers and motivators.We as humans, each of us, come equipped with gifts. Human gifts, aligned to a meaningful vision, are what enable a vision to be fulfilled. The more we are able to tap into and align those gifts to our purpose the more readily any vision will be achieved.
That’s what management is. That’s what real employee engagement is.
We face a crisis in this nation. After all these years we still run our organizations more like the Soviet Union was run — than on the ideals that our nation was founded upon. Our systems of management are old, faded and tired at every level of endeavor.
It’s time we learn the lesson.