National Geographic : 1972 Jan
Whatever became of what's-his-face? The impressive doors yawn wide. A young man still in his twenties, bright and enthusiastic, resume in hand, walks in. The doors close, and swallowed within the corporate yawn, he becomes quietly anonymous. Multiply the scene by the thousands each year. Engrave a company, or governmental, or educational or institutional name on the doors. Cast the principal players as male or female, black or white, young or not-so -young; it doesn't seem to matter very much. Because in a very short time they all begin to look and act anonymous anyway. Sure, our young man was out to lick the world when he was hired, but that was before he knew he had to lick the organization first. If the organization is rigid with inflexibilities and staffed with supervisors who know how to say no but not yes, he is likely to seek a more invigorating climate. Worse yet, he may just give up, keep his eyes open and mouth shut, and begin twenty years of payments on a little retirement cottage. It doesn't have to be that way. Must every organization undergo corporate hardening of the arteries? Not so, we say. Preventive medicine starts with something as basic as respect for the worth of the individual, practiced as well as preached. When Harvey's promotion opens up a slot, we don't look for a replica of Harvey to plug in. (Because who, in all the world, is exactly like Harvey?) For information about other 3M innovations that might help you, write for PROFILE, our customer newsletter. Box 3M, St. Paul, Minnesota 55133. 4 Corporate life can be beautiful. We start by defining the job objectives. Then we give the job, along with plenty of latitude in achieving those objectives, to the individual whose skills, experience, character, and attitude most impress us. The way he sets about getting results, we have reasoned, ought to be no less his responsibility than the results themselves. Given enough freedom and flexibility, he may do a few great things that Harvey never thought of. Or reject a few unnecessary things that Harvey always did. It's not just good works, it's good business. We think there's nothing that motivates people quite as effectively as treating them as individuals whose ideas are important. When our people invent a fantastic new product such as videotape, it doesn't happen by accident. When they invent a lightweight adhesive strong enough to replace rivets in an airplane, it's not by chance. It's because they are as dedicated to their company, their jobs and the spirit of discovery, as we are dedicated to the principle of individual worth. Everybody wins. In the end, one kind of dividend is paid to our employees, another to our customers, and another to our stockholders. Simply because at 3M, everybody is somebody. fW comPANY People stillcount here.