The Unlearning Organization LO10102

William J. Hobler, Jr (
Sat, 21 Sep 1996 01:17:01 -0400

Replying to LO10062 --

Rol Fessenden discussed reward systems with part of the discussion being

>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.

I'll confirm this one and cheer anyone on who can carry it out well. I
used to have a small broach that was a banana. I awarded it to a team
member that did something good that was noteworthy. The whole team (about
24 people) joined in the fun. Just as soon as I went to the current top
banana and asked for the broach everyone perked up to know who the next
top banana was. Great fun.

Even more powerful was showing up at two or three in the morning as the
team was implementing a new system.

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

The military has a formal reward system in which every person is ranked in
relation to their peers. This formal system works well in selecting the
front runners and the deadbeats. The mass of people in the middle are
lost in statistics. However, the system has very deep and troubling
problems. Never-the-less it is the best they can do.

I understand that in the Marine Corps some enlisted people get to evaluate
their officers. Perhaps someone could confirm this. I think that this is
a good idea.

As you may infer I am not against systems that evaluate performance and
capability. Nor am I against rewarding behavior sought by the
organization. While I admit that evaluation and reward systems have
problems I believe that they provide feedback signals to and important
portion of the business system. These signals should guide people to the
capabilities and behavior needed by the business process. Yes we are
going to find that an unwanted behavior results from a choice. We must be
prepared to change the system so that the correct behavior is obtained.
Yes, this is a control function but the alternative to control is anarchy.

It is a lesser of two evils.

-- Bill Hobler

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