Tags

, , , ,

Yeah, yeah, you say. What else is new? My boss is an idiot and an asshole. It’s normal. Or as the Russians say, “босс козла. нормально”

But there is a country where this isn’t allowed with such total impunity. Japan.  Oh, yes – Japanese bosses are idiots and assholes when it’s allowed. But it’s not as easy for them – because of their union laws.

The Allies gave the Japanese the most protective labor laws on earth. In Japan, workers have broken the arm of the president of their company and the courts ruled that it was the president’s fault for interfering with protected union activity. I tell that story and I get one of two responses here in the ol’ US of A.

“Horseshit. You’re making that up.”  or, “Holy shit! You can’t be serious.” Yes sweetie, I am serious. Totally. That’s a real case.

One of the effects of that was to fuel the growth of their corporations in the following way.

To improve efficiency, workers had the goal of constantly cutting head count for manufacturing processes. This was possible because the union workers knew that they couldn’t be laid off. So management could not take the stupid way out and just get rid of them. Management had to be creative and put them into developing and rolling out new products.

Thus it came to pass that the Japanese became masters of the incremental improvement product. And thus it came to pass that when an industry eliminated 5,000 jobs, they retrained those workers for new jobs in other areas entirely. The unions were smart about it. When a worker headcount was eliminated from a quality improvement circle, they would vote out the best, most outstanding worker they had. Doesn’t seem right at first. But then you realize that they wanted to make sure that their company did well. The best guy (or gal) would maximize the chances that the new product those workers were assigned to manufacture would do well.

Western world managements have never been subject to such pressures. Consequently, managements in the USA and many other nations are lazy-ass mofos. Yes, they are. This characteristic gets more outstanding the higher up the organizational pyramid you go – until – at the top, the lazy-ass mofos aren’t good for much except destroying their company while shoveling cash into their own bank account.

That horseshit about a poor man never gave you a job? Let’s put it another way. A poor man never stole your job and your pension. (Like Romney did. Like Stockman and so many others did.)

For more information on how Japan’s system works, consult Productivity Press, “KANBAN, Just in Time at Toyota“, published by Japan Management Association, and “Zero Quality Control” by Shigeo Shingo.
Advertisements