Financial status and rewards in most organizations are based on the types of jobs people do. This approach is based on the assumption that job worth can be determined and that the person doing the job is worth only as much as the job itself is worth….
It is not clear that the worth of people can be equated with the worth of their job. This approach clearly does not fit with a company that depends on people for its competitive advantage. The alternative that is being increasingly adopted is person-based pay. It bases pay on each individual’s skills and competencies.
Archives for February 2010
From To Do Doing Done:
“In our increasingly demanding world, the people who succeed will be the ones who can initiate and complete challenging projects. They will be the ones who know how to create a vision that engages everyone involved in the project.”
The three categories are:
- Action items
Every email or piece of paper is either an action item (to be done or delegated), information, or trash.
“To every person there comes in their lifetime that special moment when you are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to you and your talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds you unprepared or unqualified for work which could have been your finest hour.” — Winston Churchill
“…truly great organizations think of themselves in a fundamentally different way than mediocre enterprises. They have a guiding philosophy or a spirit about them, a reason for being that goes far beyond the mundane or the mercenary.” — Built to Last
It is eye-opening to realize the critical role that beliefs play in organizations. For we typically think of beliefs mostly at the individual level. But it is the shared beliefs and values in an organization that play the biggest role in making the organization effective and meaningful, and a place where people want to contribute.
“The basic philosophy of an organization has far more to do with its achievements than do technological or economic resources, organizational structure, innovation and timing.” — Thomas Watson, Jr.
Who was Thomas Watson, Jr.? From Wikipedia: “Thomas John Watson, Jr. (January 14, 1914 – December 31, 1993) was the president of IBM from 1952 to 1971 and the eldest son of Thomas J. Watson, IBM’s first president. He was listed as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century.”
This is a good article from Harvard Business Review on how the conventional approach to handling recessions is often wrong, and what to do instead. (I apologize that the link is to the pdf — the article doesn’t seem to be available in html.)
I have also blogged on this in my series Managing in a Downturn.
Here’s another approach to problem solving: When you have a problem, turn it into a question. Write it down on a document or sheet of paper, and then think through it on paper. Define the problem first, and probe it deeply. Ask “what is the problem?” and then “what else could be the problem?” Then do the same to identify causes, and then solutions.
When it comes to solving complex problems where we don’t seem to be making any headway, an approach called “the breakout” can be helpful. I came across this in a Harvard Business Review article a few years ago.
Here’s the summary of the concept: “By bringing the brain to the height of activity and then suddenly moving it into a passive, relaxed state, it’s possible to stimulate much higher neurological performance than would otherwise be the case. Over time, subjects who learn to do this as a matter of course perform at consistently higher levels.”
And here are the key steps:
- Struggle mightily with the thorny problem.
- Walk away from the problem at the top of the curve (when you stop feeling productive and start feeling stressed) and do something utterly different that produces the relaxation response.
- The actual breakout–sudden insight comes. A sense of well-being and relaxation brings an unexpected insight or higher level of performance.
- Return to the new normal state within which the sense of self-confidence continues.
From Peter Drucker’s Management Challenges for the 21st Century:
- Knowledge worker productivity demands that we ask the question: “What is the task?”
- It demands that we impose the responsibility for their productivity on the individual knowledge workers themselves. Knowledge workers have to manage themselves. They have to have autonomy.
- Continuing innovation has to be part of the work, the task and the responsibility of the knowledge workers.
- Knowledge work requires continuous learning on the part of the knowledge worker, but equally continuous teaching on the part of the knowledge worker.
- Productivity of the knowledge worker is not — at least not primarily — a matter of the quantity of output. Quality is at least as important.
- Finally, knowledge-worker productivity requires that the knowledge worker is both seen and treated as an “asset” rather than a “cost.” It requires that knowledge workers want to work for the organization in preference to all other opportunities.