Danger in the Comfort Zone

Danger in the Comfort Zone

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Bardwick, Judith M. AMACOM, 1995
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IN THIS SUMMARY

While the attitude of Entitlement still exists in business and society, reinvention, reengineering, downsizing, rightsizing, delayering, etc., have put pressure on most organizations, both in the private sector and in government, to cut costs and become vastly more efficient. Thus, people have gone from having too little risk at work to having too much-a condition that has thrown them into a state of Fear- the opposite end of the continuum. Despite this change, the legacy of Entitlement remains extremely difficult to uproot. To take people and organizations out of Entitlement, both pressure (required achievement) and support (information, counseling, and tools) must be applied. When the entire organization needs changing, top leaders must be prepared to maintain pressure, encourage attempts, tolerate mistakes, and reward achievements. This is done by using three specific strategies: confronting with support, confronting, and challenging. For the individual, the overall techniques are the same, but they show themselves in slightly different ways. Using the concept of Entitlement, Bardwick develops a simple and compelling psychological model to bring a new perspective to the causes of America’s ailing productivity. It is an approach that adds a whole new dimension to business analysis, for it digs past surface phenomena and gets to the core of the problem-human attitudes and motivation. Through this "group therapy," we can see the inevitable flow of cause and effect: The macroeconomic environment creates a psychological state in the microenvironment of the individual organization that in turn controls people’s attitudes toward their jobs. Ultimately, these collective attitudes affect the economic environment, and the cycle continues endlessly. By humanizing this cycle and then providing specific strategies for breaking it- for moving organizations from Entitlement and Fear to the very effective climate of Earning through accountability- Bardwick provides senior executives and managers a clear focus and an innovative tool for improving productivity at its core-the workforce.