Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Managers still create the wrong companies.

In 1970 3 Dutch people wrote a revolutionary little book "The Little Red Book for Students" *. It was published by A.W. Bruna & Son. The cover was created by Dick Bruna the famous inventor of 'Miffy' ('Nijntje' in Dutch).

The book was handed out to thousands of students in Europe. It basically criticizes the then existing 'schoolsystem', 'society' and 'ethics'.

In 1970 this was what they wrote on 'Authority on the job':
" ... If you pass your examinations at school successfully, you will go to work. You will end up at a work floor or behind a desk. You will do what is expected from you, because you are expected to do so. That is what you are paid for. Others will determine the value of your work. You will receive orders from 'above'. If you perform well you will receive subordinates. You are important as long as you are profitable. If you raise your voice or question the company you will be removed or you will be fired. The strategy is in hands of uppermanagement. If the strategy fails the company will be closed. That is the reality today.
......... BUT it can be different. A truly democratic company is owned by the people who really do the job. They decide what has to be done. They will assign or remove the director or the uppermanagement. They will decide where the profit goes to. They are able to decide on every company aspect because all relevant info comes to them or through them. There is no difference between people who 'think' or people who 'do'. Every employee is responsible for every product the company produces. The company does not exist to help the shareholders or the powerful elite behind the company, to make more money. The company exists only to do and to produce what the employees need. What they need is what they decide upon amongst themselves. ..."

We are now 35 years later. Did the students that received this Little Red Book in their teens change the world ? I doubt it.
Besides that I must admit that the Little Red Book is from a genuine optimism and it breaths REVOLUTION. More then 125.000 books were produced from September to December 1970. I found it by accident by cleaning house for my mother in law, a former progressive teacher. If you want a copy of this jewel from the past send me an e-mail.

*A lot of the content was based on a 1969 Danish book "Den lille rode bog for skoleeleever" from 3 Danish writers (published by Hans Reizels Forlag, Copenhagen)