ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

October 1998


Employees First, Customers Second

Adding Life To Learning

Knowledge Management: It's Really About People

Tricks Of The Trade From The Greatest Showman On Earth


Food For Thought
by Peter Block

Working With Alligators
by Michael Robinson


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Views for a Change

Book Review


Brief Cases
Business Briefs

Be Careful, the Person Next to You Probably Can’t Read
Half of the United States work force cannot read well enough to work in a modern economy, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is between one-third and one-half of the world’s key industrial states that are illiterate. And here in the United States age does not discriminate. The likelihood that older workers and younger ones finished secondary school was equal.

Once Upon A Time
At parts of 3M, employees are using strategic narratives in their planning processes rather than more traditional and brief forms of business planning such as lists, outline and bullets. Gordon Shaw, as reported in Leverage, a Pegasus Communications publication, says while “lists can express good things to do to make us functionally stronger, they fail to explain the rationale behind a plan. Stories make employees see themselves and their business operations in complex, multidimensional forms.”

Competitive Edge in Filling That Education Gap Between School And Work
Half of the jobs created by the year 2000 will require at least a high school education, while the United States growth in college enrollment is only 27 percent. Eighty-five percent of the employees who will be filling those jobs in three years are already in the workforce. Many of these workers are weak in math and communication skills. They are ill-prepared to work in an environment where 73 percent of U.S. employers consider computer skills essential. Weak skills cost companies money, however, many companies are taking the initiative and providing training programs. Hopefully by the turn of the century, employees will be better equipped to help carry us into the future.

Is Your Face Worth the Salary?
Today's work doesn't provide quick and tangible results, so many employees are reverting back to putting in "face time." According to Mary Young, a workplace scholar at the Human Resources Policy Institute at Boston University, employees are using the actual amount of time that their face is seen as a way to measure the amount of work performed. Employers are giving more work, keeping work time standards ambiguous and making it wrong to ask what is enough. According to Young, there needs to be some baseline established for employees so that they know where they stand in this ever changing work environment.

October '98 News for a Change | Email Editor
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