business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, we ran an email that was in response to an “Eye-Opener” piece I wrote on Monday, which talked in part about the importance of treating people as individuals. I originally wrote, in part:

"In all of our organizations, that’s something we need to integrate into our leadership strategies - that each employee is a different person, with different skill levels and different ways of learning. To treat them all the same, to talk to them all the same way, may seem like the most efficient way to do things. But I’m betting in the vast majority of cases, it is far from the least effective."

MNB user Richard Evans then wrote:

May be a bit of a stretch but, makes me think of another saying in a similar vein.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

It was a slogan popularized by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program.

According to Wikipedia, the phrase summarizes the principles that, under a communist system, every person should contribute to society to the best of his or her ability and consume from society in proportion to his or her needs. In the Marxist view, such an arrangement will be made possible by the abundance of goods and services that a developed communist society will produce; the idea is that there will be enough to satisfy everyone's needs.

This prompted some additional emails...most of which seemed designed to defend me against the implied charge that I was a Marxist or Communist. Which I appreciate. (I’ve been called a lot worse, believe me.)

Even Richard Evans wrote back in:

Didn't mean to imply that you were a Marxist.

I do, however, question the leanings of your friend in the café.

You do what every good journalist should do and that is to glean the good points from another's opinion and apply it, in a positive way, to illustrate a point. 

This was not lost on me.  Good column.

Thanks...but I have to be honest. I would love to have my kids learn from a guy like Alejandro de la Lozas, who I used as an example in the piece.

And I just think that “Marxist” or “Communist” are loaded words that we have to be careful about. Otherwise, we end up back in a country in which people get called up in front of committees being questioned about their patriotism and loyalties.

However, here was my favorite email on the subject, the one that really caught the context and the absurdity, from MNB user Steve Sullivan:

I think that one writer had you confused with the wrong Marx!

Right you are.

And as my favorite Marx once said...

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
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