It's simple: pay people well and treat them nice (fuck holistic managment)

I think it’s a given to most people that American Business as an institution has completely lost its mind over the past several decades, and nothing drives this point home harder than the faddish, holistic management BULLSHIT philosophies that companies buy into. I was thinking about this post, but what’s really spurring me on is one such text that I’m doing some freelance editing on, which is just another in the grand What color is the parachusting man that moved my cheese and is now tossing me fish? tradition. It’s all just so much HORSESHIT, though! Why do people buy into this shit? Why read hundreds of pages of bullshit metaphor about how some leaders are like bears and their teams are like sharks, and then sometimes you have a lamprey and other times you have a mollusk and that’s why letting people wear jeans on friday is always a bad idea and why people who get laid off even as your company posts record profits “just need to understand why their parasols are blue while the people that still have jobs have pink ones!” SERIOUSLY, FUCK THIS SHIT.

If you want to have good employees who are happy, it’s this simple: pay people what they’re worth and treat them well. THAT’S IT. I just saved you $14.95 plus countless hours that would have been wasted in seminars.

All of these books and programs and philosophies are built around the fact that companies don’t want to pay people what they’re worth and don’t want to give them the basic respect and support that they need to do their jobs. These books, programs, and philosophies exist to help them rationalize that behavior.


Preach it, Brother! :cool:

I like your attitude. You’re a shark.

Seriously though, are you sure you’re not Lewis Black?


I disagree. I work with a bunch of whiners (ok, not all of them, but some of them) who are getting paid well and treated well - and they still whine. Now is holistic management going to save them - nope, in some cases they need a swift kick out the door so they can discover either that they are getting paid/treated well or find somewhere that they will get paid/treated better. But getting paid/treated well does not mean happy employees - in fact, it often means employees who whine because they got in trouble with their normal hour and a half lunch stretched to two.

It is so true that people will live up to high expectations and down to low ones.
There will always be people who “abuse the system”, but it’s better to have a few good-for-nothings get away with their crap within the framework of a healthy system, than implement a system that is inherently broken and create misery for everyone.
There is serious two-facedness going on - everyone says that “It’s cheaper to keep a trained employee than to train a replacement,” but no one ever acts on that meme by treating existing employees as value-added by virtue of training and experience. Some places even encourage managers to tell employees that they are replaceable, so they had better follow the rules.

The only problem(s) with this is that there are a lot of people out there with extremely bad ideas about how much other people are worth. As demonstrated by the constant whining about the minimum wage and so-called “competetive” wages.

The other issue is that, as can be demonstrated in threads all over this board, many people have no clue how to treat others. Or it never occurs to them how they’re coming across because it’s all about them.

Hell, the root of my Director’s incompetence is that she enjoys playing the high level Director games (politics, meetings, communications) but she absolutely despises having to deal with the day-to-day grind. Hence, her response to minor issues is first, the deer in the headlights look, followed by a deep sigh, then she gets frustrated and angry because she has to deal with it and winds up making extremely bad decisions based on anger and misplaced ego.

This doesn’t contradict the OP, which said “pay people what they’re worth.”

They’re worth $0.

The worst morale-building policy I’ve ever heard of was at the first company my fiance worked at after graduation. This company contracted IT people out, so they had maybe 200 employees working at about 20 different companies. Probably someone thought that having employees so spread out would mean that they didn’t feel like part of the company so they made it MANDATORY to join one of their social clubs.

These clubs met once every couple of weeks at 5pm even though many people had to travel 30 minutes to get there. And it was company policy that if you had to leave work early to get to these mandatory meetings (where they took attendance, mind you), that you had to make up missed work on your own time. So the employees were forced to work extra hours for the privilege of going to meetings for clubs they weren’t interested in, with people they didn’t know, all in the name of workplace bonding.

You’d make a great Team Coach. I suspect you could extract the maximum productivity from your team by providing them with the tools to perform while creating a performance based environment.

See, all this reaffirms my fundamental belief that being a good manager has utterly nothing to do with what degree you have and everything to do with innate personality/talent. For the record, I have a Bachelors degree in the field and the ONLY things I learned had very little to do with how one manages people. I developed skills in accounting, HR, finance, business law, communication… but nothing anyone can teach us will convey what we need to know about how to make other people do what you want in an effective, sane and sustainable manner.

The books can be boiled down to one phenomenon: poor, insecure schmucks who started out on the floor with a great deal of talent and found the only way up was management. Suddenly, rather than doing the work themselves, they’re suddenly responsible for getting others to do the work for them (a vastly different set of skills). What’s the first impulse when one feels over one’s head? Shouting and a safety blanket. For someone who doesn’t have a clue, the “simple” solutions laid out must be a great comfort.

Too bad most of them aren’t worth a bucket of warm spit.

I suddenly have a vision of Samuel L. Jackson pulling out Mr. 9mm and yelling, “Gimme my fucking cheese, motherfucker!”

The Cereal is the Prize.

I can’t argue with the OP. Companies should pay and treat people well.

Of course, for companies to do that they have to be able to charge accordingly for their products, and the board needs to feel that the owners of the company aren’t only concerned with profits.

So every time you go to a shop that’s notorious for screwing their suppliers right down to the last dime (Walmart, for obvious example), you perpetuate the cycle of bad pay and poor workplaces. If you invest in funds that have an agressive policy towards the market, then you’re perpetuating the cycle. It’s nice to think that only companies and managers are responsible for bad workplace practice, but the customers and shareholders have a part to play too.

Wait, is this that ‘The Secret’ thing I keep hearing so much about?

Here’s why. Money.

Buzzwords are free. Pay and benefits aren’t. Companies know this, and, many companies really don’t care about their employees. They just want to squeeze all the productivity out of them that you can.

So what happens? A company that doesn’t pay well generally does so at all levels. Thus, decisions are made by, generally, poorer managers. The managers that are willing to work for lower pay than standard are generally either worse performers or are completely overworked to compensate for the other bad managers.

Then, have this pool of management try to figure out how to resolve massive morale, turnover, and productivity problems. What happens? They get taken in by salesmen and presentations. They don’t ask about real results and they don’t even commit to the programs that they spend lavishly on. They never ask themselves, “could this money be spent another way?” because they latch on to the first possible solution they see. It’s just too hard to actually create a company where people want to work, you see, when you work for a shitty company. Treat people well all the time and they come to expect it. That might be inconvenient for Mr. or Ms. Terrible Manager.

But, the good side of these programs is that they can write this in their little forms and letters to their terrible managers saying “this is what I am doing to solve the problem”. Eventually, these managers end up being fired for being terrible, and then the company rehires another terrible manager as they desperately need someone in the position right this minute to resolve all their problems. Then the cycle begins again.

It’s just another manifestation of instant gratification. We can’t actually be bothered to invest the money and time into a real solution, so we slap something together and hold a little rally and hope that fixes it.

If you want to manage people, you have to actually know who does the work, and who sits watching the work go by. If you aren’t in the place where the work is done, that ship sails without you.

If you want to people that work for you to be at all interested in actually doing the work, in preference to watching the work go by, you have to know who does the work, and that has to be as beneficial to the workers as it might be for you.

Anything more than three levels of management makes the above impossible, unless each level manager is entirely involved in the entire process, including identifying which manager works on problems, and which manager just watches them go by.

In other words, if you want people to care about the job you want them to do, you have to be able to tell if they are doing it, and do something about it when they do it well. Condescending pep rallies of all sorts are easily identified crap, and the only people who are uplifted by them are the people who weren’t doing anything more important. I strongly suspect that the only managers who think “we should have team building exercises” are the upper echelons of water cooler monitors, and company social directors.


I’m not even sure they spend lavishly on them. The whole fish thing ( starts with a $20 book. You can get the video - don’t know how much that is, but it probably isn’t lavish spending.

A lot of these yea-rah-rah activities are pretty inexpensive.

The other thing is that what to some person is “stupid holistic management” to another person is “treating them well.” We went through a tough year and cancelled the company picnic. Now, I thought the company picnic was stupid holistic management stuff - my idea of a good time is not a amusement park in the summer on a Saturday. The howls that went up from people who thought the picnic was important was deafening. To them, it was part of getting treated well. Team building can be another example of that. There is a thread about how stupid team building is. My department has an annual “lets all play golf” team building event. Some people think this is stupid (often people who don’t play golf). However, some people who aren’t in my department think we are “so lucky” to have a Director that does this (often people who do play golf - funny how that works). My own boss is really big on reward and recognition programs - small gift certificates. You’d think a $5 gift certificate was a big deal when you talk to the people whose bosses don’t hand them out regularly (we are talking about fairly well paid professionals, not people who $5 is a signicant amount of money for).

I do a really stupid one - thank you notes. No money, nothing other than a handwritten note on nice Crane stationary sent interoffice. For some people this is a big deal, they call me up to say “gee, that was really nice of you.” They interpret it as treating them well. Maybe it is. Maybe its a stupid holistic management thing. (There are a few individuals I won’t send them to as they’d see right through to the potentially manipulative nature of a thank you note.)

Some people like signs and balloons (I really don’t get this one at all). I did some consulting work for a company that every time someone reached a goal, they put balloons by their cube. Yea-Rah-Rah! Cindy closed her 500th collection! There were special balloons for the weeks top performers. And, of course, a birthday balloon on your birthday. One day the helium tank was empty and the high school cheerleader graduates in that department really felt the loss of those damn balloons. They had to make a special trip out to get a new tank because feelings were hurt. Here I was saying “this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen” but they were improving morale and apparently getting results with balloons. Now, I’m sure there were people there who thought the balloon thing was as stupid as I did, but it was motivating for some (and it appeared, most) of the staff.

Preach it!

Management that doesn’t know the content of the job always screw things up IME. My Summer job was a manufacturing job at a local Quaker plant. Management there had regular meetings talking about all the changes they were going to make, all of which slowed down production, Cut people out of the jobs (jobs where 5 people ran a machine was suddenly cut down to 3), and demanded an INCREASE in production. When people such as Leads told management that it wasn’t productive to run the machine with such a low number of people (as evidence by the decrease in production and increase in problems), they told the leads that they were management, and they knew what they were doing.

Also, the place had the most lazy people I had ever known, mostly because it was a seniority based job progression rather than performance based. I don’t know anybody in the time I was there that ever got wrote up for being too lazy. In fact complaints to the supervisors office about people taking 30 minute “15 minutes” breaks and Hour “30 minute” lunches as well as disappearing regularly throughout the shift were entirely ignored.

I could have kept working there after my classes started, but I wanted out of that soul sucking environment. That right there is the best way to go downhill in business, IMO.