(Writer note: please forgive me if the spelling is wrong…which it probably is)

Some of you may be asking…what the hell is polder model (pronounced poll der Mo dell)? I heard the term on a NPR/BBC broadcast months ago and thought the idea should be used in the United States to run our businesses. It will help the customer service attitude as well as assisting security in protecting the employees and facility.

But your question still remains, what is it? It is a form of consensus management. Basically meaning that the management of a company relies, mainly but not totally, on the consensus of all of its employees to make decisions that affect them.

While this kind of management is a wonderful idea, there are times when it doesn’t fit very well into reality. So, why am I bringing it up and writing about it? As I stated in the first paragraph it will help, if adopted and implemented the correct way within the corporate culture to ensure higher customer service satisfaction rates in addition to helping to protect the people, property, and assets of the company. All of which affects the finances of everyone.

Decisions that affect items of contention among employees, grunt and management alike, such as; sick/maternity leave, vacation times and when you can take and who can take it, shift starting times, and the percentage for raises, maybe. You may not have a union but what does it hurt to allow such democratic systems for your employees to have a say?

Why can’t other things be solved in this manner? Let me give you an example from the past why not all decisions can be made by consensus; September 1, 1939 the Polish invasion by Adolf Hitler. This may be extreme but it punctuates the fallacies of polder model with all decisions.

The Polish government was run by a legislature of 400 or so noblemen. They weren’t elected but were of the ruling class. Most were benevolent and treated people fairly…by 1939 standards. Others were not so generous, just like we still have in America although not as cruel.

ALL of the legislators had to agree on something before it was passed. Not ¾ or 90% but all of them. When the subject of Germany and its massing armies and threat to Poland was brought to them they couldn’t agree on what to do.

Those on the western border knew there was a threat. The legislators from the east were more laid back and not believing that Germany would actually invade them, relying on Russia to keep war at bay. The inaction between the two factions helped to lead to the most destructive war in human history not to mention the slaughter of millions of Poles.

In that respect and example, I agree that the polder model is not a good idea for companies to utilize. But, by allowing employees to help in managing the company, even in such small ways it gives a ‘buy-in’ to it and they have more of a stake in the company’s survival and success.

If they have a stake and are engaged in the success of the company then they are more than likely to treat their co-workers with better customer service, respect. Likewise, they will begin to treat the external customers with more respect and listen to their wants and needs more intently.

By doing those things, as well as the things I propose in my books and posts, then it will raise the company to a higher level. If it can be raised to a higher level then customers should begin to rave about them and write favorable reviews which means…more business and possibly a more secure financial footing.

With security the same thing applies. If they are involved in the company’s success then they don’t want to see anyone or anything hamper that success. Crime, fraud, workplace violence, theft, and such won’t be tolerated. Meaning that they are more likely to report anything out of the ordinary.

They will be more than willing to report any of the warning signs of a co-worker who may be on the edge for workplace violence. It could possibly be a door propped open for the smokers or someone ‘tailgating’ to get into the facility.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s I implemented a similar system at one of my posts. It was called it Team Approach to Problem Solving (TAPS). I took an issue and gave it to my officers and asked them what we should do to rectify it. It didn’t work overwhelmingly well, due to intense disinterest, but I did get some good suggestions that were given to the client and adopted. Others were not anatomically possible.

I was ridiculed by other supervisors and the branch manager, as well as the district VP, for implementing this program. Why you ask? For asking stupid guards to think about things that were not their concern and not about the things they were hired for…making rounds and letting people in the door i.e. keeping the place from fire and in production.

Can this model of Dutch management work in the United States? In a limited form. We have developed an authoritarian style of management without much say from the grunts, like me and am happy to be, albeit a malcontent, on the front line. Most managers and C-suiters are and will be unwilling to give up such power and authority. But if they look at what it could do for their bottom-line in the future and not just today…

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on his Facebook page, facebook.com/oneistooomany, or twitter@robertsollars2.

                              I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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