PCB007 Magazine

PCB-Apr2014

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60 The PCB Magazine • April 2014 IS YOUR DAM JOB KILLING YOU? continues without recognition, we may or may not get a hit of dopamine, but for sure we don't get any serotonin. When appreciated, we not only get a hit of dopamine, but also a hit of serotonin. We get a dose of serotonin when we see a friend or family member do something important. Serotonin creates strong feelings of belonging, confidence, and pride. We need it, and we will do all sorts of things to get it. It's why designer jeans sell! Is also explains why none of us like working for a dictator or like being treated like slaves. When companies can provide multiple ways of achieving status for employees at ev- ery level, they have a maximally engaged work force. This was true when Honda gave workers the authority to shut the line down—it raised quality. If you order workers to just follow pro- cedure they will undermine you, because their defiance raises their sense of importance, and their level of serotonin. This is the key, by the way, to reducing your scrap rate. Scrap is a behavior problem, which I described in Can Scrap be Beaten? (December 2013). Did you know that humans get extremely depressed and will likely die if we aren't al- lowed physical contact with people? Oxytocin is a strong reason why our social connections are vital to our survival. The only way we can receive the pleasurable feelings oxytocin gives us is from a hug, a kiss, or even a hand shake. If we have low levels of oxytocin, we don't trust, and we aren't generous. Moreover, if we didn't have oxytocin and truly lived only for our own self interest our species would have been extinct long ago. So there is an important survival com- ponent to oxytocin. The downside of oxytocin is it leaves us vulnerable to con men. They un- derstand our instinct to want to do good and they exploit this fact to rip us off. For example, we may think our credit card number is helping a child in Africa, when in fact it might be just lining the pockets of some unscrupulous cons. Finally we get to cortisol. Long ago, when an important manager at Photocircuits told me that if I didn't get my line problem fixed I would be fired in two days, what happened to me? My heart rate increased, my immune sys- tem buckled, blood sugar surged through my blood stream, my muscles tensed, and I lost all cognitive higher-order brain functions. These are just some of the effects of cortisol. They are great when you need to run away from an animal that wants to eat you, but not so great when you have to solve a complex problem. Fear is not a way to motivate people. Fear is a way to kill people. The problem on the line went away on its own, but I got sick and had to take a couple of days off from work, because the prolonged high level of cortisol wreaked havoc on my immune system. This manager, by the way, wound up dying in his early sixties from a sudden heart attack. I liked him as a friend, but he worked in and amplified fear as a moti- vator within the work environment, which he believed was essential and good. Unfortunately, he didn't understand how we are truly wired and just how unhealthy a lifestyle soaked in fear could be. When I visit board shops, many of the gen- eral managers aren't in the best of health and appear stressed out, with little time to relax and just enjoy time with friends and family. The conversations always drift to pressure and sacrifice and often shift to some recent health problem. It's as if sublimely we all see the prob- lem—a problem that we are fond of denying. The fact is we will never be globally competi- tive, where everyone can give their best work, in a work environment of fear. Do you want to live longer? Do you want to change? Do you want your company to be maximally competi- tive? Are these rhetorical questions? Then "just do it." Changing this doesn't cost much mon- ey, but it may require asking for some help. You can stop your job from killing you. PCB References 1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Men- tal Disorders (DSM). gray mcQuarrie is president of grayrock & associates, a team of experts dedicated to building collaborative team environments that make companies maximally effec- tive. to read past columns, or to contact mcQuarrie, click here.

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