A book that proposes an original route from unhappy factories to people-centred organisations.
An organisation is like a ship’s galley, not a nice place to work or to find yourself in. The climate in factories or offices is sometimes the same. Feeling enslaved, we don’t go there happily and our output is low or provided unwillingly. Situations such as these may be more common than you’d think nowadays. Especially, and above all, in the industry 4.0 era. In his recently published, “Dalla piramide al cerchio. La persona al centro dell’azienda” [From the pyramid to the circle. The individual at the centre of the organisation] Guido Zaccarelli takes a pragmatic and structured approach to the complex and thorny comparison of organisations to ship’s galleys. His stated aim is to engender a more ethical organisational culture that puts the individual at the centre of an organisational eco-system with which he or she can identify and feel a sense of belonging.
The opening imagery is, nevertheless, the ship’s galley, which Zaccarelli uses to compare the gruelling labour of slaves at sea to that of workers on assembly lines.
He suggests that this unhappy situation could be turned around if management were to adopt an
organisational structure that were closer to the needs and desires of individuals, and banished demands made on workers to keep to the relentless pace of the assembly line to
cut costs and compete in global markets.
The concept of competitiveness itself is redefined, presented as the extent to which an organisation is able to create a climate in which people are empowered to share their ideas and their knowledge with those around them, in a circular rather than a hierarchical structure. Zaccarelli believes that a positive organisational climate motivates people to work towards, and identify with, a common organisational purpose. It paves the way for the creation of a happy workplace in which the deep and previously untapped resources of employees can be brought to the surface. Once visible, these forces can be harnessed and used to generate countless
intangible financial resources to be invested in training, research and development and to
raise skill and capability levels across the organisation. People will become wiser, happier and more content. Knowing that they are being respected, they will be more eager, proactive and willing to contribute.
Zaccarelli’s book is undoubtedly a visionary read. It raises questions that often prompt surprise to begin with, and takes the reader on a long and colourful journey that is full of complexity and not always immediately intelligible. Yet, it is a book which must be read. As you turn the last page, you may not fully understand or agree entirely with its premises, but it will definitely have helped to map out some previously unknown territory.
Dalla piramide al cerchio. La persona al centro dell’azienda [From the pyramid to the circle. The individual at the centre of the organisation.]
Franco Angeli, 2017