Everyone wants to contribute


Just read The Starfish and The Spider, an interesting book by Beckstrom and Brafman. I’ll post more about this on another day but I liked the focus on Emotional Intelligence and their proclaimed rules, particularly:

Rule 5:Everyone wants to contribute

It’s all about trust.

Why doubt them?

I look at my firm’s values, which are:

  • Trustworthy – we do what we say we will
  • Helpful – we work as one team
  • Inspiring – we create new possibilities
  • Straightforward – we make things clear
  • Heart – we believe in what we do

and sigh.


Because I have to produce evidence, related to my work area that shows how I have demonstrated these values, using a narrow form of words. I must produce evidence for each of these, every quarter.

If there’s time to spare from the day job…

This evidence will be assessed by my line manager; my unit manager; it will then be assessed by our HR partners – who, as in many large corporates nowadays, don’t even work for the same organisation.

This HR organisation and senior managers will then endeavour to weigh everyone’s evidence – and will attempt to ensure that the evidence is used to justify a normal distribution of performance ranges – which will impact pay and bonuses.

Dark blue is less than one standard deviation ...Image via Wikipedia

Is this the best way to spend your people’s time? Google do something constructive with 20% of their folk’s time…

I can understand some of the motivation for it. People say, “How come so many people are marked Good or Very Good, if the team, or unit, or company isn’t achieving their objectives? Maybe we should mark more of them lower as they haven’t delivered.”

I can understand the motivation, but it doesn’t necessarily make it right. If you’re rowing in a galley, it doesn’t matter how hard you row, if the the helmsman points you somewhere… that’s where you’re going. If you’re aware of where he’s pointing, and you’ve discussed how hard you need to row… – you can’t necessarily influence the destination.

Making your people jump through hoops to prove what they’re doing neither demonstrates belief in their trustworthiness, nor fosters a team ethic, nor encourages sharing of knowledge – which I’ve previously mentioned when talking about performance management.

I gather there are changes coming. Maybe, I’ll be trusted.

Picture Credit polapix

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