Bolstering Productivity and Innovation

We’ve been having a “rousing” discussion in the Millennials section of this Forum (the discussion is actually ongoing under the book topic, VALUE PLUS: EMPLOYEES AS VALUERS) about the dying embers of our society’s “fires” – that is, motivation, innovation, and productivity. Of course, we’re generalizing when we say that there is less of all three of these, because there is certainly no diminishment of intellect in our society (the sum and substance that promotes enthusiasm, motivation, innovation, and productivity). But in today’s social and cultural environment, it’s much more difficult to muster the determination to push through the maze of regulations and restrictions to generate truly innovative thought and product. The problem that we’re currently facing as a society is how to promote these attributes – they’re currently out of fashion. Those who consider themselves businessmen (by that, I always mean businessmen and women) are scorned – but, the question one would want to ask is: In preference to what? The lack of business endeavor renders a society moribund, static, and in decline – look at the Greeces and Spains of the world for confirmation of this phenomenon. Recent word from Spain has been that the government is proposing that the 3-hour “siesta” in the middle of the day be discontinued, in an effort to start to rescue the country from the brink. Good luck with that! But, we have a slightly less problematic but equally serious problem in the U.S., where, for at least 7 years, young people have been told that they need not aspire to anything, but rather that they should let the government take care of them. Thus we are in the process of burdening society and ourselves with large numbers of people who believe this myth – that there will always be a government to take care of them. That will be true only if a certain segment of society is working, making money, and paying taxes to support others who are not. But even more serious than that is the erosion of belief-in-self and of an independent spirit that has made this country the greatest place to live in the world. There’s nothing more exciting than an entrepreneurial nation; and nothing less exciting than one that is not. It’s a mystery why those who have been advocating the notion that young people shouldn’t aspire to greater things would want to do that. I welcome your thoughts on the topic.

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