Humanity’s most valuable assets have been the non-conformists. Were it not for the non-conformists, he who refuses to be satisfied to go along with the continuance of things as they are, and insists upon attempting to find new ways of bettering things, the world would have known little progress, indeed.
—Josiah William Gitt
Corporate life is quickly accelerating toward an inflection point. Many people talk of feeling “it”: an uneasiness about the future and a palpable sense that a momentous shift of some kind is taking shape in the business world around us. Basic industries, and portions of our knowledge work, continue to move offshore, leaving a vacuum that must be filled. Even worse, selfishness and greed have grown like cancers, destroying iconic corporations and tearing at the social fabric of once great and caring companies. A house divided ultimately fails.
This inflection point represents an onrushing shift. As in past shifts, new businesses will assuredly spring up to replace those that fail or are commoditized. As the twenty-first century unfolds, knowledge workers will staff these new businesses, and their productivity will become the primary management challenge for America and the developed world.
Peter Drucker saw this coming:
The most important, and indeed the truly unique contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the MANUAL WORKER in manufacturing.
The most important ...