First published online Jan 30, 1999
THE SELECTION OF KEY POSITIONS
In the past, the selection of all positions in business has been determined from the top down. By top down we mean that those in higher authority choose all those who shall be in management below them. In the Molecular Business this process is reversed, and the determination is made from the bottom up. By bottom up we mean that those who work under a manager are the ones to choose who supervises them.
The reason that the business world has reversed this natural order is simple. To understand we must merely look at the evolution of a large company. A successful business is usually created by one person, or a small core of people. This person, or group, then proceeds either alone, or with partners, to create a structure. This is well and good so far, but after the organization is created, authoritarianism and selfish motives set in, and each manager sets up his power base for his own benefit and not for the welfare of his company.
An unprofitable manager will often fool everyone except those employees directly under him. To maintain his power base, he must deceive those above him who have power to either remove or advance him. He deceives his superiors by blackmailing the only ones who are aware that he is incompetent: his subordinates. He lets them know in certain subtle ways, that the employees understand perfectly clear, that the subordinates’ job and promotion potential is in his hands. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the employees to support their manager whether he be right or wrong.
If the manager creates a program that will lose the Company money, for instance, the employee may see the flaw but be afraid to express it, for it may make his manager look bad, and if he makes his boss look bad or even feel bad, his work stability may be under threat. He may know this because he voiced mild opposition in the past and it caused him problems. Now the underling knows it is best for him to always support his boss. The worker is thus forced into a situation where he must choose between personal benefit and company benefit.
Even if he chooses the Company benefit, the worker will not be in a position to be of any use for he will lose his job. Therefore, he will rationalize this situation with the thought: “If I choose personal benefit I can stay in the Company and at the same time look for ways to quietly help the Company.” He rarely finds those ways, but the thought salves his conscience.
Thus we see the employee always (almost without exception) chooses personal benefit.
And who can blame him? Such is human nature.
The employee will support the manager in his bad idea because, under the system, he benefits personally. In addition, he is fearful of any other choice.
If the subordinate sees his manager lying, or presenting false pictures to his superiors about his performance, the employee is again faced with the choice of either benefiting the Company by exposing the truth, or profiting himself by supporting the deception.
The employee will, of course, support the deception. If he goes above his boss’ head, his boss will never let him forget it and will look for every opportunity to slow his progress or get him dismissed.
If the manager steals, or takes undue advantage of the Company, the employee will generally remain silent because it benefits himself.
If the manager fires one of his fellow employees unjustly, he may feel hurt for the person, but he will not vocally complain, for he sees he may be next on the list. Again, he benefits by remaining the silent supporting worker. There has to be a lot of spiritual truth portrayed by the three monkeys who hear, see and speak no evil. The creator of this thought was probably thinking of the worker in the authoritarian system who has lost his dignity and integrity as a man and becomes as a scared monkey.
If the manager lets the employee assume some of his responsibilities (which he will take credit for) and then takes a three-hour lunch break, the worker will cooperate in shielding him from exposure, even if he is seething from resentment. Why??? Because it is in his best interests. He will figure that the Company must take care of itself.
If the manager had a fight with his wife one morning and takes it out on the subordinate by verbally abusing him and castigating him for wrongs he did not commit; the worker will take the abuse and complain very mildly, if at all, because his job survival is at stake.
We live in an age where we do not fear for our lives on a daily basis as some have in ages past. Survival is the strongest urge in humankind, and anything that threatens this creates the strongest possible fear. In the past, authorities manipulated this survival fear by threatening lives. Today it is jobs or promotions that are threatened, for the sense of survival is probably more strongly connected with our employment than it is with anything else, and when the possibility of termination arises, a deep-seated fear connected with the survival instinct arises.
In short, if the employee feels this great fear in connection with his job, then the manager assumes the totalitarian power of a dictator over his job life. In any dictatorship the subordinate will try to read the mind, thoughts, wishes and whims of his Holyship and carry them out without question or consideration of the common good. He does this because, under a dictatorship, he benefits when the superior is happy, whether the kingdom benefits or not. The health of the country, or company, is ALWAYS second to pleasing the totalitarian authority.
The time has come to free the slaves.
Yes, slaves. The Molecular Business is the new Emancipation Proclamation!
Think of it. Most of the workers in the free world are in a form of slavery. Part-time slaves perhaps – eight hours a day – but slaves nevertheless. Ask them and find out. Most will admit that they feel that way even though they may not like applying the word to themselves.
Some slaves are content with their lot; others are very resentful, but they are still slaves if they have no freedom of expression to a superior and must obey his every whim without question.
On the other hand, there are some slaves who have a good master. The tactful master may make his slaves feel like they are not really slaves at all, but are as free men, and if the slave and master have a good relationship the slave may be quite happy and content.
But he is still a slave. He would realize this if his pleasant manager is replaced by an egomaniac. He would then understand that the power structure he is in can be harmful to his freedom. He is a slave as long as the master, or manager, has complete power over his job life, and he, in return, has no power over the manager. He is a slave if he can only speak up if the manager allows him to.
Relief only comes when the taskmaster is a “nice guy,” but even then, a slave is still a slave. It’s the system that makes it so.
It’s time for a new system. The consciousness of the free world demands freedom on the job as well as off. That demand is to be met by the Molecular Business.
The idea is very simple and the seeds of its manifestation already surround us, but it has not demonstrated itself in business for one major reason: People in authority love the power it gives them, and they will use this power, at all costs, to keep their area of dominion secure. Since that authority is almost impossible to remove once an organization has been established, we will not see the established companies turning into Molecular Businesses. The first Molecular Businesses will be entirely new enterprises. Next we will see a number of faltering companies turning to it to save them from going under. Finally, after it has been proven to produce abundance, we will see the established businesses reluctantly turn to it. The reluctance will come from those who wish to hold onto their power over others.
The power to fill key positions in the Molecular Business will be reversed. Instead of having this power vested from the top downwards, it shall be given from the bottom upwards and shall be applied through a democratic system.
Let us say that company ABC is a Molecular Business and we are examining their first-level managers. (By first level we mean the lowest order of managers.) These are not selected by second-level managers, as is usually the case. Instead, they are elected by the employees they supervise. A company executive may make a suggestion, or nominate a prospective manager, but he does not choose who will fill the position.
Giving subordinates power to select their leaders, eliminates, in one master stroke, some of the major problems found in the business world. It neutralizes the Peter Principle which accurately tells us that, in the business world of today, each employee eventually reaches his highest level of incompetence.
What this Peter Principle tells us about today’s business is this: That a worker continues to be promoted as long as he is doing a good job and is happy in his work, but as soon as he is given work that he cannot handle, or where he is incompetent, the promotions cease. He is not demoted back to a job he can do well for two reasons: First it would hurt the poor guy’s ego to go backwards and take a lower-paying job; secondly, his superiors would have to admit they made a mistake in promoting him. An authority, with dictatorship power, resists admitting error at all costs.
What therefore happens again and again is that employee after employee reaches his level of incompetence and stays there. We can look around us and see that every established company has a very high percentage of its management incompetent, and usually unhappy, at their jobs.
On one side of the coin this is funny, especially when we hear weird stories about dumb decisions and mistakes made by bureaucrats. We read the Dilbert comic strip and watch movies like Patch Adams, Dirty Harry, Rambo, Die Hard, or Good Morning Vietnam and laugh at the incompetency of the bosses and then squirm at how they do everything in their power to get in the way of the real hero. I liked Bruce Willis’ line to an incompetent police executive during a crisis in Die Hard: “You’re not a part of the solution, pal, you’re a part of the problem.”
These incompetents would be funny if they would restrict themselves to the movie world, but, as any person who is in contact with a hierarchical organization can testify, they are everywhere, affecting us, afraid to make progressive decisions, slowing us down and interfering with our standard of living, peace and happiness. When we are affected individually, it is no longer funny. It is sad. Something should be done about it.
A simple democratic process applied in the business world will automatically insure that the incompetents are weeded out. Let us look at an example of how this selection process works in a Molecular Business in filling a vacancy for a manager over twelve workers.:
Unlike the businesses of today the Molecular Business does not wait around for a decree from an executive as to who will fill a vacant position. The position is open to anyone. Any one of the twelve workers may either volunteer himself or nominate another. In addition to this, a worker from another department may also volunteer or be nominated. After all the candidates have stepped forward, then the twelve will hold an election. When one candidate receives more that 50% of the votes then he is the new manager.
Each elected manager has to receive a majority of votes from his department to become elected. What happens if four are running and A gets 4 votes, B 4 votes, C 3 votes and D 1 vote? In this case no one received the majority. The solution is quite simple: They select the two with the highest votes, which were A and B, and then vote again. The one with the majority vote will win, unless there was a tie. In case of a tie the winner is picked by the next manager above him in authority.
One may justifiably ask the following question: What if the group was deceived into thinking that they chose a good manager and later found out he was an incompetent? Are they stuck with him?
No. The Molecular Business recognizes that no choice is infallible, and there will be many times that the first selection will not be the best possible. Only actual performance on the job can determine the qualifications of a leader. Promotions are filled by people who have potential to do the job, but have not yet proven themselves so mistakes are to be expected. Fortunately, the Molecular Business makes provisions for the correction of those mistakes whereas the orthodox business is crippled by them.
Anytime a subordinate feels he can do a better job than his superior, he may challenge him for his position and call for a vote. The challenge will be accepted and a vote will be held by secret ballot presided over by one of the workers in the group. It is advisable that the candidates not know who voted against him. Nevertheless, this is not a black and white rule. If the Company or a division thereof wants to have open voting, that should be their choice.
All workers should be made aware of the voting outcome. If the manager knows he obtained his position by a majority of only one vote, he may try extra hard to do his job and keep his subordinates happy so a new challenger will not be able to replace him.
If a challenger is defeated then he must wait at least ninety days before he can issue a new challenge; otherwise the manager may be in danger of harassment and distraction from his job.
If the aspiring manager is voted in, he will trade places with the current manager. The first line employee then becomes a manager and the manager becomes a first line employee. If the now-replaced manager believes he has been unjustly treated, he can (after a period of ninety days) challenge for his old position or apply for a transfer to another department of the Company.
It’s always possible that the former manager, and the person who replaces him, are both competent managers. Their working group may just be fortunate enough to have two high-quality individuals to choose from who are qualified to be managers. In this case, the former manager can seek a transfer to another group that lacks leadership and can then challenge the manager there if he wishes. In the Molecular Business, anyone who has talent should not have to let it go to waste.
If the new first-level manager is a person of ability and talent, he may soon discover that he is more capable than the second level manager above him. As he senses this and proves himself competent as a first-level manager, then he may challenge the person above him in hope of advancing another step.
If he succeeds at this, then he may later challenge the third-level manager. His only limitation is that he can only move up one level at a time. He finds that just as water reaches its own level, so does intelligence reach its correct level in the Molecular Business. If he can prove himself qualified to lead the whole company, then there is nothing holding him back from assuming that position within a short period of time.
In the Molecular Business no one in the Company can relax in the easy chair of authority and be callous and indifferent to the needs of subordinates. Every leader will find that he will have to be concerned for those under him or he will be replaced by someone who will be.
All job positions in the Molecular Business are offered first to those who want to apply for them. An appointment will only be made when there is no volunteer available.
A worker may want to transfer to a different area of the Company. He should not be denied this choice. He is always free to apply for a transfer, and as long as there is an opening and the new group can accept him by a majority vote, he will be allowed to make the move. If word has it that he is a troublemaker and is not accepted into a new group then he will have to stay where he is.
In the standard business of today there is intelligence seeking its correct level, but there are many blocks to achievement. Once in a while, a high position is filled by a competent, but the person probably had to spend most of his life getting there. Perhaps he could have done an even better job twenty years ago when he had more energy, but that energy was suppressed a great deal so he could please his superiors and move ahead.
Often competent, intelligent people encounter too many obstacles, too much resistance, and make too many people feel threatened. They often wind up breaking away and becoming an entrepreneur, forming some enterprise of their own, even if it means taking a high risk and living on a shoestring. Some of the most intelligent people demand freedom for themselves above financial security.
The Molecular Business supplies financial stability as well as freedom. We shall explain the financial aspect later, but from what we have discussed so far, we can see that freedom is a prime virtue of this order.
In the authoritarian business of today the employee does not have complete freedom of speech, as we mentioned earlier. He has to support his boss no matter how much in error he is. If he speaks up he could lose his job.
Not so in the Molecular Business. Here, it is the other way around. His manager is the servant and must try to please him. The employee has full power to speak his mind without fear of reprisal, for the manager does not have power to fire an employee without the support of his fellow workers.
This principle gives the workers of the world freedom of speech at last. And is it not logical that we should have freedom of speech in that area of life wherein we speak the most – our jobs?
Copyright by J J Dewey
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