Incentives LO1053

Tom Burke (
Wed, 3 May 95 19:28 PDT

Replying to LO1029 --

>One is born with intrinsic motivation, self-steem, dignity. He inherits
>joy in work, joy in learning. These attributes are high at the beginning
>of life but are gradually crushed by the forces of destruction...." Among
>other things, Deming included as forces of destruction grades in school,
>merit system, incentive pay, MBO, etc.
=alot of snipping=================================.
>For a summary of Kohn's work see *Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work* in the
>Sept./Oct. 1993 Harvard Business Review or his book referred to above.
===more snipping==============================

I have appreciated the threads about the disincentives of incentive pay.
It all sounds theory. While I would like to embrace the
concept, I am drawn to some real-time conflicts. People who work together
to accomplish the task; serving the client, strenghtening and growing
their capacities, are different than people who do not work together to
accomplish the task; clock watch, whin, moan, and groan. These
differences are not singularly caused because of an unenlightened
management. Enough with management-bashing. Some good people have
signficant problems about which I can do nothing. I must compete in a
highly competitive world. I can not forever carry those who will not take
responsibility for their own lives. Thus, some people produce more than
others, some people are more capable. Some people have needs which others
do not. How do I pay all these folks. Should I have one level pay?
Everyone gets the same? If I accept that mentality, I ignore the tier
structure of our tax system which provides incentives and disincentives.
No matter how much I may disagree with that structure, it exists, and I
can not ignore it. People with the same gross pay take home differing
amounts for exactly the same work. Is this something management should
ignore? If I have a tier structure based on the work, time in chair, or
any other base, it still fails to recognize both the qualitative and
quantative diffences. Some people produce more of what I want. Why is it
so wrong to pay people who do more of what I want more than those who do
not do what I want? Just because Dr. Deming said it, doesn't mean I
should accept it. In this I struggle. I find no reason to reward people
for doing more of what I want done.

What I want done, for better or worse, regardless of whether I arrived at
my want by intensive teamwork or my fiat, what I want counts. My business
should reflect my desires. I should listen, I should be teachable, I
should work to protect the dignity of those who honor me with their labor.
But some people are not capable of performing at the same levels as
others. It seems unfair to me to provide the same pay for disequal work.
It seems unfair to me to fail to provide the structure by which
individuals and teams can take advantage of their extra efforts or extra
capacities. If we don't reward people for performance, if we don't people
for their contribution, then how do we? Forget the issue of incentives,
how about treating people fairly. IMHO, the correct approach is to be
sure what one wants, let the people know clearly what that is, and let
them work within a fair system so that they can enjoy the fruits of their
better effort.

I recognize the heresy, I also recognize the people I pay and when they
enhance the system because of their efforts, I think there should be
something that recognizes that. I also think they should be able to know
clearly what is expected.

Tom Burke
Ramona, California