Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Organizational PC


 If you have yet to read Stephen F. Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, I suggest you pick up a copy today. Self help books, I realize, may not be for everyone. However, the concepts outlined in this particular book, in my opinion, are definitely worth a read.

The book has sold over 25 million copies worldwide since it was first published in 1989 and has been cited by many acclaimed leaders.  At the book’s core is the idea that there should be more of a focus on character ethic, what you are, rather than on personality ethic, what you portray to be.  According to Covey, character ethic is the real foundation for success.

Early in the book, Covey introduces what he calls Organizational PC.  The premise of Organizational PC is basically that every organization should treat its employees in exactly the same way that they expect their employees to treat the organization’s best customers.
Go back and read that again:  Treat your employees as you want them to treat your best customer.
What a simple concept, huh?  Yet how often is this concept violated in organizations?
In order to explicate Organizational PC, Covey first defines the P.  The P symbolizes Production.  In the case of Organizations, P = good/ethical/desired work.
PC symbolizes Production Capacity, or in the case of organizations, the employees, as they are the ones capable of producing the desired work.

  An example, as used by Covey in the book, is the story of the Goose that laid the golden eggs.  You remember that fable don’t you?  There was once a farmer who owned a goose that magically laid golden eggs.   The farmer was content at first, but then became greedy and instead of waiting for the goose to naturally lay the eggs he killed the goose in an attempt to obtain all the eggs at once.  The plan backfired as the farmer found that there were no golden eggs inside the goose but even more now there was no goose at all.

In this story- the P is the golden eggs; the PC is of course, the goose.

Covey argues that there has to be a balance between the P and the PC.  In other words, the farmer’s focus should have been not just on the eggs but on the goose as well.  Effectiveness is the focus of both the P and the PC.  The only way to optimize the P is to optimize the PC: One cannot get the best of the P (the most golden of eggs) if one does not bring out the best of the PC (a happy live Goose) and vice versa.

Thus for an organization to get maximum productivity from their employee, they should not just focus on the wellbeing of the product but on the wellbeing of the people with the capability to produce - the employees.

Now think about how effective your organization would be if this simple rule was always put into effect…

References:  Covey, S.R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon and Schuster

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