the business-human paradox

Business cannot get done without humans, yet we forever want to ignore the human side of the equation. It’s messy and we can’t control it as much as we’d like and it’s unpredictable and it’s really stinkin’ hard to quantify and it requires a long-term focus in a short-term world and, and, and…

So we choose to downplay it, put it aside, focus on the things we can quantify and control. Yes, we need to get that side of business right too. But because that side is where businesses would rather spend their time, it is much more difficult use it to gain much of an advantage over the competition. And because  the human side is so hard, the companies that get it right reap some phenomenal long-term benefits.

It’s really interesting that, because business cannot get done with humans, businesses WILL address the people issues sooner or later. When you focus on and nail the human side you free up time to really concentrate on making and delivering great products and services. When you ignore the human side, you spend every waking moment dealing with people issues. The paradox – the cosmic joke – is that the more you ignore it, the more time you spend dealing with it.


[Note: this is a slightly expanded version of a comment I made on Gareth Jones’ blog in response to his post, Organizations: The World is Still Flat. That’s twice this week he’s inspired me – thanks, Gareth!]

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