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01/22/2013

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THEjeffbrown

I know I'm late on this six-month-old post that I just discovered (after having recently read your book), but I must say I so identified with it.

In June, I became the victim of a company reorganization for a company I gave 14 years to.

Don't get me wrong, I've not looked back and am treating it like the blessing in disguise I believe it to be, but the pain of being tossed aside after have helped build it into what it is will likely never go away.

Martyna

Simon, I was captivated by your TED talk. And it influenced my thinking.
I have also thought so many times about the fate of Roman empire. And came to a conclusion, that somehow, the late Roman empire resembled communistic Russia.
Dull inhumane system, that ignored human needs.

such thinking can lead only to a massive downfall. It is not sustainable.

I believe that sustainability and longevity of any endeavor is based on leader's ability to communicate the vision and bond with people

just like you talked during your TED talk

AyeshaChaudhr11

Great post, Simon. Thank you for sharing your insights.

Perhaps another common element shared by all great leaders is that they do not see themselves as being persecuted irrespective of the harsh circumstances facing them. They do not blame other people or situations for the way they act, feel, and behave and know that true power is only within. I am the cause of everything I think and feel and when I change the inner teacher, everything changes.

Imagine what an organizational culture would be where every single individual takes full responsibility for themselves. No judgment, no criticism, and no condemnation for anyone. Equality of being that is felt and practiced by every single person irrespective of the function they perform. Now that is powerful......not more powerful than....no comparisons....just sheer power itself! Perhaps we can call it inspiring :)

Lucia Gauchia

Funny! My mother has used exactly the same example of the Roman Empire since I can remember :-)
On the topic of the blog, I would add that some thinking must be done on which is our personal responsibility as employees who work at that company. As individuals, are we perpetuating the Roman behavior? or serving others in our humble position? Because the comment "I do not have a position of power in my company" is widely used as an excuse...

Chaz RIpley

Sacrifice the numbers and not the people. What a thought! The idea that we would be willing to live and provide such rich community is refreshing! I believe the only way to truly make this happen is to also live our every day lives this way. Developing habits of working together to make sure other folks don't fall behind.

JasonBlenker

I appreciate all of your blogs, and words of wisdom, but I really took offense to this. As a small employer, we are very near and dear to all of our employees, really they are our family - we have grown up together, laughed together, cried together, and celebrated together. There is nothing tougher than laying people off, it isn't to make our numbers look better, it is a necessity of survival of the company. Is it better to have the entire company go down because you no longer have the work to justify that person, friend, co-worker? Or is it better for the rest of the team to have work. We have tried to minimize hours and keep as many people as possible, but when the work dwindled further, there is only so much water in the well, our pockets are not that deep that we can continue to pay people when there is not the work to support it. Now that the housing industry is recovering (although slowly), we can start to add back our old friends, find new ones, and build something together. While large organizations may do this cold heartedly, I think I can speak for the majority of small business owners, that this is never an easy decision or one that happens quickly. (and for some companies, not quickly enough) We all are not so fortunate to have high margin businesses that make money hand over fist.

I would enjoy further discussion on this topic as it relates to small businesses and how to handle this situation and communicate it to the team so that they fully understand. We try to be open with our employees and help them understand the "why" of our decisions so that they are less resentful for the decision that is sometimes necessary for survival.

Sophie Schuller

Thank you Simon

what a great comparison! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to read it;

I couldn't agree more with the topic, which I experienced. I'm now in the process of thinking deeply about what I want to do with my pro life and these facts are more than welcome in the analysis. What a great synchronicity!

Thanksxxxxxxxxx

JantjeBartels

I have not made this comparison yet, but this certainly has some truth in it, at least as far as my work experience is concerned. Thanks for sharing!

I am not an historical expert, but I believe that some modern companies have less common values which are actually lived than the Romans have shared.

Terry Hadaway

Great post. I have been the victim of the modern day Romans... twice. I realized I need to pack my parachute if I'm going to work for the empire (http://wp.me/p2fSH9-1H). Once they own you, they own your ideas. Once you stop sharing ideas, they dispose of you. I left the empire and now preside over my own little corner of the world. Less stress, less drama, more creativity.

Maria Trapani

Simon, thanks for another jewel.
I would just add that Romans they do exist and have been living their own hell: in their minds they still believe that they rule the world!! Do you think that any corporate and political leader is getting this message or are they in Roman-sphere? How can we make them land?

It is a pleasure to read something this free and respectfully written. In other countries self-proclaimed 'free' (including steps away from NYC), this piece would have been highly controversial to say the least.

K

Hm... I feel like what is potentially more heartbreaking is that the culture that he grew up in, in which he followed and kept all of the rules... to the point that groups of scholars -- Pharisees -- would follow him around for the sole purpose of trying to catch him in the act of tripping up.... Rejected him. And not only is it heartbreaking, because that means that by definition he was rejected for who he was... because who you are is the sum of the place you hold in the relationships you have with the rules that you keep in your heart, isn't it? ... It is heartbreaking because of what he had to endure after that --

“He was arrested on trumped-up charges and brought forth by false witnesses. A mob of angry men beat him severely, and he was stripped in shame and whipped. The soldiers used a flagrum, a torture tool with a handle from which proceeded strips of leather with weights affixed to the ends, in order to tenderize Jesus' back, legs, and buttocks. Its hooks sank deeply into his flesh, ripping off skin, muscles, tendons, and bones. Jesus’ body shook violently from the trauma. His blood loss was severe. His tormentors then pressed a crown of thorns into his brow in mockery. On his back they dropped a heavy, rough-hewn crossbar, which he was forced to carry through a mocking crowd to his place of crucifixion. Jesus fell under the weight of the cross, crushing his chest on the pavement under the perhaps one hundred pounds of weight, possibly puncturing his heart sac.

After getting help carrying his cross, Jesus arrived at Golgotha, where the soldiers and crowd disrespectfully pulled out his beard, spat on him, and mocked him in front of his family and friends. The equivalent of railroad spikes were nailed through his hands and feet, containing the most sensitive nerve centers in the human body. As he was lifted up, the mob cursed him as his body convulsed, blood and sweat dripping off him. Soon after, Jesus gave up his spirit and died. To ensure his death, a soldier ran a spear through his side, puncturing his heart, and blood and water poured from his side.”

Excerpt From: Driscoll, Mark. “Who Do You Think You Are?.” Thomas Nelson, 2012-11-01. iBooks.

But.. You know it is so funny because... Because the way that I look at it... That is what he willingly did for the people he loved... Because he loved them. So the way I see it, it's inspiring.

Thats what he was willing to do for the people he loved. And he loved people so much that even when he died he was willing to forgive and he did forgive and that example of love and forgiveness continues to change the world... That's what makes him a leader worth following and imitating. And it's that example of love that was set that ultimately outlasted the example that the Roman Empire was setting, and cultures like the Roman Empire who stop taking care of their people...

What I mean to say is that him walking up that hill was only a small snapshot of rejection compared to the larger rejection that he endured and that the larger rejection he endured does a lot more to prove your point than the smaller one... Even though at the end of the day this is still a well written article....

... I dont know, read the scripture again and I think you'll see what I mean :-)

Adamcooperative

Thanks again for your good thoughts. It is one of the reasons I work with cooperative businesses that are owned by the people that use the good or the service. By removing the outside investors you take away one of the core incentives that causes companies to treat employees unfairly.

Brands such as Cabot cheese, Welch's, REI, every credit union are just some of the 29,000 co-ops in this country that serve housing, health care, small business and every other part of our economy.

Adam Schwartz, The Cooperative Way

Bob Waddell

I lived this scenario in the electronics industry. I worked for a large distributor in the 90s and the founder (who started by selling parts out of his car in the 50's) ran it like a family, even though it was $500M+ - and it felt like it. In the early 2000's I worked for a huge global distributor ($20B+) and in 3 years took my group from a solid #3 out of 3 to #1 - and my reward was a layoff phone call. I had a concern when I hired in that one of the company's core values on their mission statement was "Maximize shareholder profitability" - doesn't exactly foster long term relationships with employees, customers and suppliers. This is a perfect analogy - thank you for the post.

Daviddd

Great take on a something I've been saying for years. Many employers today, and seems more recently, expect more loyalty from the employee than they give (or can give) can provide. Is loyalty to the employee gone ? Did it ever exist? Perhaps it's always been this way and the current economic climate just forced this ugly reality to show itself.

Greg_McCoy

Great parallel. The last paragraph was my favorite, I haven't read much about the leadership abilities of our biblical ancestors they are usually mentioned in a different context so this is cool to think about them in this way.

Richard Zou

They say people who often use Analogy are smart, you are the one they are thinking of when say so. ha.
Thank you again for inspiring me.

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