Wilfred Brown: Most Important CEO You’ve Never Heard Of

E. Forrest Christian Change, Wilfred Brown Leave a Comment

I recently wrote an appreciation of Wilfred Brown, the Managing Director of Glacier Metal Company, accomplished management author, and government servant. I wrote this for the recent GO Society summit in Toronto, as a part of their new CEO Honor Roll. I had written the Wikipedia article on Lord Brown ages ago and have intended to do more but haven’t. …

Moving to a new design

E. Forrest Christian Admin, Change 1 Comment

I’ve been sick and tired of my website for years now, and with the change in how I do business, I’m moving off this look into a new one. Expect a pretty simplistic look on the website for about a week as I introduce the new layout for the site and the new business model. Also, have you taken a …

Trust Is Necessary To Society. The Glacier Model Builds Trust

E. Forrest Christian Change, Organizations, Theory 6 Comments

There’s a fascinating paper at the IMF by social capital guru Francis Fukuyama (Social Capital and Civil Society – Prepared for delivery at the IMF Conference on Second Generation Reforms) that covers his reasoning behind social capital being called “capital” at all. Besides being interested in how to create societies, I’ve always found him a lucid writer who discusses a …

Benito Mussolini conciona la folla in Piazza Duomo a Milano, nel maggio 1930-Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-09844 / CC-BY-SA

Why Leaderless Groups Go Fascist

E. Forrest Christian Change, Organizations 1 Comment

I recently tweeted that “As long as you advocate leaderless groups, the power-hungry will control you. The answer is more complex.” Asked to provide some more, I figured I’d do it here since it ties into some of the workplace stuff we’ve been talking about (from when Wilfred Brown was MD/CEO of Glacier) and the new model of Evangelical church …

ADLER typewriter Model n°7 (Frankfurt / Germany). Unknown model date (probably ~1930/40). By Dake

Workplace Democracy, Participation and Power

E. Forrest Christian Change, Reviews - Books, Wilfred Brown Leave a Comment

From Organizational Participation: Myth and Reality by Frank Heller, Eugen Pusicć, George Strauss, and Bernhard Wilpert. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. 294 pp.

These experts (Heller is from Tavistock) have a brief mention of Wilfred Brown’s participative management at Glacier Metal Company.

In some individual cases the transition from autocracy to a variety of organizational forms where influence is more widely distributed can be achieved by deliberate intra-organizational processes, as for instance in the formation of the Scott Bader Commonwealth (Hoe 1978) or the democratization of the Glacier Metal Company (Jaques 1951; Wilfred Brown 1960). In the case of Scott Bader, the founder of the business was a devout Christian who, after a prolonged strike of his workforce. came to the conclusion that he no longer wished to be the sole owner. In the Commonwealth he created, every employee became formally a part owner and two potentially participative decision-making councils were set up. The Managing Director of the Glacier Metal Comapny, Wilfred Brown, was a very unusual person. He combined intellectual and socio-political interests (he was for a time a Minister in the British Labour Government with a very sympathetic attitude to social science which led him to engage a psychoanalytically oriented consultant, Elliot [sic] Jaques from the Tavistock Institute in London, to help introduce a participative-humanistic organization (Jaques 1951).

These two well documented cases, while not unique, are examples of substantial structural and to a lesser extent behavioural changes consequent on a policy decision by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In both cases the CEO stayed on the scene for sufficiently long to consolidate the structural changes and in both cases these changes survived the death of the founder for a number of years. [145-6]

Candle in stump holder. (c) J. Samuel Burner (CCA-2.0) http://www.flickr.com/people/lobsterstew/

Why Requisite Organization Will Not Survive (Or Will It?)

E. Forrest Christian Change, requisite organization 58 Comments

UPDATE: Ken Shepard, President of the Global Organization Design Society, has written a response: Perhaps Requisite Organization is going viral under the radar! I’ve been wondering lately if Requisite Organization (the ideas formulated by Elliott Jaques) will survive for much longer. The GO Society identified several years ago that most of their members were “gray” — retirees or close to …

Seattle!

E. Forrest Christian Admin, Change 1 Comment

For those of you who care, I’m spending the summer in Seattle at the behest of a fellow (much larger) investor in a Green startup up in Vancouver. He thinks it’s in the best interest of both the startup and my family to bug out to the Northwest. Where I am currently enjoying a “sunny” day that seems to be …

Domestic goat smile, Crimea, 2009. By George Chernilevsky. Public Domain

Warn of Problems, Then Become the Scapegoat

E. Forrest Christian Careers, Change Leave a Comment

Hidden high potentials (2HiPo’s) have a significantly higher risk of being scapegoated by teams than do normal people. People with too much going on are irritating and usually seen as a threat, which is why 2HiPo’s also adopt some strange behaviors that serve to obfuscate their high level of capability. There’s not much that I can see you can do …