Sustainable productivity needed

Re: “Measuring what matters” by Alla Guelber Activist Guide March 13-19 2007.

What I didn’t see mentioned in your story on “green business” is what usually seems to be least visible in business hierarchies — the workers. You know the people slogging it out day by day dealing with customers performing the services and selling the goods that actually make businesses function. How a company treats its workers is the true test of holistic health and sustainability and this is the area where most business structures I’ve been a part of fail miserably.

It’s not a matter of making some changes around the edges. The entire business model needs to shift to a more egalitarian paradigm if business is to become truly healthy and sustainable. Every individual whether worker management or CEO needs to be valued as an equally important part of the success of the business. Instead of top-down decision-making that is often out of touch with the day-to-day realities of its operations workers need to play a meaningful role in the decisions and policies that affect their jobs and lives. We need to adopt an idea of sustainable productivity. In short workers are human beings not robots.

There needs to be an understanding in business that productivity levels fluctuate just as people’s energy levels ebb and flow. We cannot be on this track of Go! Go! Go! full speed ahead and expect to actually be sustainable. Nature doesn’t work that way. In order to reach real holistic health we need to inject some soul into our business structures. Workers need to have some creative control over the work they do each day. Positions need to be progressed instead of leaving people languishing in dead-end jobs. These are the changes I wish to see in business today. Until then “green” and “sustainable” are just words thrown around by marketing people to create an impressive image — too often devoid of substance.

Jillian MacPherson

Calgary AB