Your bank, certainly, doesn’t care. Neither does your HMO or even your car dealer. It’s amazing to me that people are surprised to discover this fact.
People, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of caring. It’s part of being a human. It’s only when organizational demands and regulations get in the way that the caring fades.
If you want to build a caring organization, you need to fill it with caring people and then get out of their way. When your organization punishes people for caring, don’t be surprised when people stop caring.
When you free your employees to act like people (as opposed to cogs in a profit-maximizing efficient machine) then the caring can’t help but happen.
The Caring Capitalist
Some call it anarchic socialism, some cutting edge capitalism. At Brazilian manufacturer Semco, the workers have sacked the boss, and run the company themselves.
At the lavish reception, one of two receptionists meet and greet the great and mighty. But no-one really ever knows which one it will be at any given time. “‘We are not sure which one will be there, because they set their own schedule” explains IT worker boss Joao Neto. There are hammocks to help workers think in comfort, and departments can choose their own furniture. Even salaries are set by the employees themselves, and bosses are just as likely to tell you to ask for more money than less. But although it sounds like a workers dream, the rest of the department keeps an eagle eye on lazy employees: “There is peer pressure for bad behaviour. If you’re here just to profit from other people’s efforts, you’re not wanted”. The easy going atmosphere has paid dividends — annual profits at Semco are up to US$ 160m these days, from $ 4m when owner Ricardo Semler took over 25 years ago. Now he has turned his attention to teaching — without the teachers. Like Semco, pupils at Lumiar primary school in Sao Paulo dictate the rules. Vive La Revolucion?