In Lab Rats, Dan Lyons questions the culture of work that’s grown up around the implementation of technologies in the last forty years and how we’ve avoided the things we know we need and have been distracted by the things we don’t. Have quick watch of Marc Marasco’s YouTube summary
He talks about organisational developments coming from Well Intentioned Rich People (WIRP): endowments and charities across the educational and social landscape as the template that blind us, distract us to the changes we know, as workers, as employers, as employees, as members of a community, would really make a difference and would work: local accountability and continuity of resources in education, training and skills for everyone at every age and stage of life. Organisations in the 21st century should still be places where people can trust, feel trusted and share in growth and profit.
He gives seven rules. We should:
Spend More On Humans, (slow down, make workers real employees, not contractors, provide good health benefits and retirement plans),
Create Safety At Work: scared people make terrible decisions. People who feel safe learn, share and develop higher level skills.
Use Less Tech I think what he means is evaluate the tech you have and use it creatively, or, make tech more accessible.
Close The Gap Dan argues that there should be regular job swapping across the company hierarchy. He says: “Imagine how much more humanely Amazon might treat its workers if Jeff Bezos and his lieutenants spent one week a year packing boxes in an amazon shipping centre”. Lab Rats P234
Turn A Profit : (because everyone benefits but this can also mean when you’re developing your unique business, that you take people with you in a human form of profit they grow
Abandon the grow fast, lose money, cash out mentality which, if it’s not exploitative for the pioneers inside a great idea, relies on one way of structuring growth through contracting which takes but gives little back. Instead of a sense that the company is giving something to the community, very often you feel that companies have a predefined template that sees the local as the place where contracted out workers are rather than the place where people live and work and hope for a better future.
For those on the outside, or the periphery of these types of businesses the excitement and possibility seems false. If you feel you’re used to make the idea work and that you’re inside conditions where other forms of financial exploitation and risk are becoming normalised then you can see how important the employment environment is and how we should be able to construct it and change it.
We need innovation so the quality of individual relationships or contribution and trust rather than contracted out systems (bank factoring on invoicing, for example, that structures relationships in one way or payroll that introduces indebtedness to work as a norm, workers ‘borrowing’ from employers, normalising a gambling culture in the workplace so that the aims and intent of the organisation are in the hands of offshore non tax paying interests). Employees aren’t prey.
If a company makes a profit it’s creating wealth and, very importantly, social capacity in real time for the owners,employees and community stakeholders (who are everyone in the local community around the business).