PM Quote of the Day — Florence Nightingale

Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.

This quote resonates during these uncertain and surprising times.  Florence Nightingale was one of the first medical professionals to recognize that the mind and body work, or don’t work, together.  Her insight was not merely derived from anecdote.  She pioneered the use of statistics in medicine, especially the visual representation of those statistics for non-expert audiences (example here).

Most of us don’t need a statistical analysis to know our teams will flounder without direction, especially now.  I’ve found a couple of posts that address this challenge:

  • Rita McGrath points out (here) one approach to getting teams unstuck — clarifying assumptions, reaching out to the future, and making decision rationales clear. 
  • John Baldoni focuses (here) on just how and why these are especially tough times for managers, and gives some suggestions that parallel Rita’s.

Are labor unions attractive these days?

I was a little perplexed by the title of this post by Rita McGrath (post here).  Perhaps it is simply my temperament and perception of today’s unions.  Even when I was washing dishes and slinging hash, I never only once seriously considered entering a unionized workforce (I had a brush w/ UPS).

I would find it hard to work in a seniority — not performance-based — culture.   The union label on a product used to mean something.  Is still does in highly-skilled trades.  But too many white collar unions have lost the focus on craft and quality; in fact, they seem hostile to it.  Not my cup of tea…

However, I think McGrath has a point about how greed, bailouts, and globalization may well drive employees to try collective action, bargaining, or representation again:

To me, it’s a powerful testament to the laws of unintended consequences and the idea that every action prompts an equal and opposite reaction. If the ways in which large corporations wield power over their people is increasingly seen as unfair or even illegitimate, we can expect a lot more momentum on the part of labor.

Given all that, does the labor movement look more attractive to you these days?

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