MacLeod Review says people potential should be ‘unleashed’

July 20, 2009

Well I might be in Paris with all its attractions and distractions, including good coffee, haute cuisine – oh and the complexity conference of course – but it’s a bit of news from back home in Britain that’s caught my imagination today. The MacLeod Review of employee engagement, commissioned by the Department for Business, has said workers need to be properly involved in the future of their firms.

Author David MacLeod said he wanted to see people’s potential “unleashed” and said engagement was a key to innovation and competitiveness. Apparently the report’s authors were told during their research that “trust works two ways” and that not trusting staff had a negative impact. They were also told it was people, not machines, which made the difference to a business.

Responding to the report employment relations Minister Lord Young said: “Workers know better than anyone how the firm they work for can improve, innovate and succeed.”

f this all sounds familiar, that’s no surprise.There’s nothing radical, or even new, about this report. It’s what DNA Wales and complexity advocates have been saying for years. It’s what companies around the world – including many I’ve worked with – have been doing for decades.

Of course people are the key to a company’s success. Of course the best people to ask for a solution to a company’s problems are those within it and on the frontline. And it stands to reason that if you haven’t got everyone in the organisation fully behind what you’re trying to achieve, you’ve got less chance of achieving it.

The Government says it accepts the report’s recommendations and now there’ll be an action plan to deliver them.

Now that the message is becoming more mainstream, maybe those who run our organisations will forget their management tools, and constant ‘tinkering’ with the system and finally wake up to the fact that this is the only way to make them fitter for the future.

Let’s hope they don’t just pay it lip-service, and they actually do it.

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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