The Unlearning Organization LO10021

Ben Compton (
Tue, 17 Sep 1996 11:09:11 -0600

Replying to LO9990 --

Roxanne says,

> My 17 years of experience in designing new rewards systems
> confirms what Ken is saying. Our formal reward systems have
> transformed otherwise normal human beings into Frankenstein
> monsters who crave perks and titles and other visible symbols of
> success. None of these will satisfy the natural human longing to
> simply do a good day's work.

One of the great tragedies of modern business is that the reward systems
do not build a sense of togetherness and unity that is a necessary
condition if the organization is to remain competitive.

I'm not entirely sure how to solve the problem. I've seen a number of
different approaches: One is to be very egalitarian, by giving rewards (in
the form of more money, bonuses, etc.) in private; another is to make
rewards much more public, holding one or two people up as role models.

The problem with the first is that human beings like to be recognized in
public. The problem with the second approach is that it implies those who
aren't publicly rewarded may be failures. Both, in the end, demotivate
more than they motivate. And they pit employee against employee instead of
bringing the employees together in a common cause.

I like the idea of dividing an evaluation into thirds (as I've mentioned
before on this list):

1/3 for individual performance
1/3 for workgroup/team performance
1/3 for department/division performance

I also like the idea of getting rid of titles. I've seen too many people
throw a fit because they didn't like their title. And, frankly, titles
also cause of sense of disunity within the organization.



Ben Compton <>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>