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Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization by Dan Pontefract

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Chapter Two

How'd We Get So Rigid?

Corporations exist to make money. This isn't likely a surprise to you and nor would it be to suggest that some of those same organizations don't really care about your well-being as an employee. As a consequence, many—but not all—managers lead with a singular focus on profits. They are the classic command-and-control type of manager because of the system—the system built on hierarchy, control and profits—and thus the managerial handcuffs.

Stephen Denning, in his book The Leader's Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century, opines,

The reality is that most established firms—no matter which business they are in, no matter how sophisticated their products or services, or what the country of origin—are still operating on the assumption that the workplace can and should be built around the central idea of a system of things to produce goods and services.1

And in order to ensure those goods and services are produced on time, on budget and at a pertinent level of quality, the only way in which to ensure this occurs is to control the employee. It's a recipe for organizational-engagement disaster.

This chapter is dedicated to an analysis of rigidity. It's an attempt to whip you into a frenzy of disbelief. If this were a fictional book, the chapter would slowly introduce our antagonist whereas the rest of the book sees our protagonist—the Flat Army leader—attempt to capture or kill off the enemy until the closing denouement. ...

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