The Unlearning Organization LO10062

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
18 Sep 96 21:58:42 EDT

Replying to LO9990 --

Roxanne, Ken and John all argue that the reward systems are destructive
because they create cravings for rewards and status change.

I understand why they feel this way, and I agree that the _formal_ reward
systems are somewhat arbitrary. However, blaming the reward systems for
peoples' attitudes implies that if we fix the rewar systems, then
attitudes would change, and frankly I doubt that would happen unless other
even more fundamental changes also occurred.

In addition, the formal reward systems do not need to be _all_ the reward
systems, and I have seen examples where the informal reward systems are
valued much more greatly than the formal ones. Providing a challenging
environment with clear goals, proper tools, a collaborative environment,
and a sincere thank you for a job well-done can -- and do -- become the
more valued rewards. I have seen research that asks what people want most
from their work, and money is not near the top of the list. It is
somewhere in the top 10, but recognition, challenge, collaborators,
flexibility are all higher on the list.

If you can say to a new employee that they will learn to do things they
never thought they could do, they will succeed and be recognized for it in
ways that are gratifying and unexpected, that they will be eminently
employable elsewhere in the company or other companies if they work for
you for two years, that they will respect their boss, they will enjoy
their co-workers, then they will be happy. No question about it.

If Bill Hobler is still listening, I bet he would confirm that. The
military is the ultimate practitioner of this "reward" system.

I hear you, Roxanne, complaining very appropriately about the poor quality
of formal reward systems. However, I think you over-estimate the impact
of replacing them with better systems.


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc.

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