The US and Our “Average” Workers

I am still baffled by the article from March 6th by CNBC titled, ‘Average’ Workers Plague US Businesses: Execs Survey.  The knock on the American worker is that they lack critical thinking, creativity and communication.

WOW!!  Imagine that the American worker is now the problem.  Never mind the American worker has been outsourced, marginalized by poor work designs and subjected to outdated management thinking.  However, clearly the worker is the problem?

What’s missing?  According to the survey  . . . “highly developed skills in making decisions, the ability for workers to transmit their ideas in oral and written form, being able to collaborate with co-workers, and the foresight to be innovative and make something happen when action needs to be taken.”  Let’s take a look at these:

  • Highly developed skills in making decisions – How often do executives actually allow a worker to make a decision?  On anything?  Compliance is the name of the game for a worker – written procedures and rules see to that.
  • The ability for workers to transmit their ideas in oral and written form – Other than the outdated “suggestion box” when is an executive really interested in what a worker has to say?  The strategic plan and projects restrict any ideas of relevance this is a management problem not a worker one.
  • Being able to collaborate with other workers –  Deeper issues here, reward systems pit one worker against another in too many cases.  Competition is cited as the best path, not cooperation.  Again, a management issue.
  • The foresight to be innovative and make something happen when action needs to be taken – Again the system workers are laboring dictates how much innovation is achieved.  Workers are restricted by the system.

American management is what plagues the US, not the American worker.  Something American management has not come to grips with yet.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his column at Quality Digest and his articles for CustomermanagementIQ.com. Reach him on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn atwww.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.

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