Amesbury, Toby Elwin, carriage town, industry, most difficult, blog

The most difficult industry to work in

Toby Elwin Blog, Organization Behavior 2 Comments

Amesbury, Carriage Town, industry, Toby Elwin

Horse-drawn carriages: a large bet on a, truly, difficult industry.

I admit each organization is unique. Each handles and manages industry and firm-specific stress and demand differently. I do not admit that organizations are anything more than a system of human interrelations.

The organization is a product of human interaction and social construction. Organizations do not follow ordained, industry-driven culture. There is no set of industry commandments or blueprint all organizations must follow.

Organizations are a product of social interactions not industry feature. People come together to inter-act and inter-relate.  People form the organization, an accumulation of organizations form an industry segment.

Organizations are made and conceived as products of human interaction and social construction rather than an expression of an underlying industry, natural order.

It is not the industry that demands an organization norm. People create process, not the industry. People plug technology in, not the industry. And people in all industries are too lazy to make a pot of coffee, seemingly, just to piss you off; people, not the coffee maker or the industry.

Exclusive or Difficult Industry

People drive the organization’s effectiveness, mood, and culture. Any badge-of-courage discussion about how specialized the health care industry (the education industry, the nonprofit industry, the law enforcement industry, the music industry, or whatever industry you want to call out) is, should question an ability to reason against the sociological laws of interaction, leadership, culture, and communication.

On every engagement I find one certainty, at some time I will hear someone in the organization sing their divine right to the blues through one of the following lamentations:

  • …you really have to work here to understand,
  • …this is not like other industries,
  • …if you’ve never worked in this industry you will never know,
  • …people who work in this industry are incredibly special and unique,
  • …we have special Spidey-sense that no other industry or organization has, or
  • …outsiders will never get it, they will never understand how different we are

Those comments are the product of learned helplessness. Though I will never enable any of those points, I do listen to their lecture and I do acknowledge their cautionary tale and the burden they must carry. I also make sure to burn the notes I took while they lectured me.

Studies in organization behavior and change management focus on the human, sociological side of the organization. Organization change management professionals approach organizations, as a system of human interrelations; therefore, human behavior and social interaction is the focus of change. Not the industry. Not the sector.

Same Consultant

If you are afraid a management consultant will challenge your assumption, then you should hire them immediately.

If you refuse to hire or listen to a management consultant who has challenged your assumption, you should not waste your time or money on a management consultant.

Keep your money and buy automatic coffee makers for everyone, because you have fostered a culture of sycophants afraid to tell you the truth for fear of their job.

Long ago, you or your organization, marginalized or fired the squeaky wheel(s) who cared; that may have more to do with values than culture.

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