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Yeah, Ann:

If you 'peek' at the 'organizational performance' literature you seem to find that the businesses that have been most financially successful over the last decade are often described as 'agile' and 'adaptive'. This most often means a 'boss' that learns from others. One of our CEO study participants called the CEO who proceeded her as 'One Way Joe'. Meaning he gathered information and then made a decision that ended up being 'the way it is done here'.

She told me that the primary reason she has had improved financial success is the began to take counsel from others and often implemented their suggested solutions even when she was 'on the fence' about it. "Once you begin to listen to others, magic happens" she told me.

To 'facilitate' getting new ideas coming from everywhere she had rid the organization of 'job titles', 'salary ranges', and benefits based only on tenure. This signaled to the organization that she was open to suggestions wherever they came from.

I just sent her your article. If she has anything to share I will put it on. (PS: I nominate you to be 'boss' of our firm for a week. In exchange we will give you the title of 'Grand Pubah of All Sorts of GREAT STUFF)

Our methodologies and paradigms were invented for the government-protected oligopolies that existed in the 1950s and 1960s. That cultural and economic environment has been blown to bits for at least 30 years.

Perhaps the most useful thing we can do to help our clients (in whatever forms they take) is to let these methodologies and paradigms go, and to disabuse our clients of the notion that they can be of any further use.

Good summary of the juggling act, Ann. Too many rush to a hasty conclusion, especially with time pressure and costly consequences for inaction. Anything new and nontraditional is seen as a frightening risk. Even a failed clone program will be staunchly defended after the fact because "it worked at ABC Company." No, that is not the attitude of great leaders, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The process demands a delicate balance that varies everywhere.


Agree that getting new, inventive solutions requires creating the space and process to allow that "magic" to happen. Sometimes it takes no less than the CEO her/himself to set the tone and expectations.

Would be so honored to be the 'boss of the week'! And do please let us know if that CEO has any thoughts to share back here.


Great points in reminding us that our value comes not simply in knowing the technical "comp stuff" but in being able to help our clients clearly see the methodologies and paradigms that govern overall reward practices -- and determine whether they need to get the boot.


It is an unfortunate truth that too many of us work in circumstances where pushing for the new and nontraditional, or even a sound exploratory process, is fraught with risk. Perhaps the acute balance sense of a tightrope walker will be a core competency for any of us hoping to push their reward paradigms forward.

Thanks all for the comments!

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