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Organizations do not care about people, only people care about people.

That was the theme of a recent Seth Godin blog. It is the people, plain and simple.

For the record, Mr. Godin is a marketing innovator who pioneered “permission marketing.” His daily blog is the 15th most popular in the blogosphere world.

Next month I am speaking to a national meeting of the association of imaging management which has decided to hold its annual conference on the sizzling skillet that is North Texas in August.  My seminar theme is how empowering employees is a strategic imperative in our “new normal” economy where unemployment remains excessively high and consumers are tapped out.  I am going to make the case that empowering people is more than a strategic necessity, it is a moral imperative.

I speak and write frequently about the importance of people in business and how they – our employees — should be our most valuable asset, just as we advertise in our annual reports and recruitment brochures.  Of course today, for the most part, that is simply not true.  Today, far too many CEOs are unwilling, or unable, to walk their talk, a fact that is not lost on their employees.  From hospitals to airlines, carmakers to manufacturing and retails businesses still view their employees as not their most important asset, but their biggest expense. The consequences of that approach are all bad, and accepting the inevitable adverse impact this mindset inflicts on our customers/patients, is immoral.

As I travel around the country, I see signs posted in the hallways and employee work areas that are designed to boost morale and reinforce the corporate culture, as if clever, pretty signs will achieve the desired effect.  “Our People Are Our Most Important Asset,” is in the top 10 of popular postings.  But the sad truth is that if companies have to resort to hanging signs to remind their employees, they are truly in trouble.  What they are really telling their employees is: 

“Our people are our most important slogan.”

© 2011 John Gregory Self