I'm always on the lookout for these incentive schemes gone wrong. There's a great book on the subject by Harvard Business School professor Robert Austin — Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations. The book's central thesis is fairly simple: When you try to measure people's performance, you have to take into account how they are going to react. Inevitably, people will figure out how to get the number you want at the expense of what you are not measuring, including things you can't measure, such as morale and customer goodwill.
It's the guys who were supposed to watch this sorry bunch and prevent them from taking over the funny farm. They're the ones to blame. How simple do I have to make it?
Guy #1's job is to eat as many pies as he can before he dies. Guy #2 is hired to make sure that everybody gets his or her fair share and plays by the apple-pie rules. If Guy #1 and his pals get all the pies, he's just doing his job. It's Guy #2 who isn't.
So I'm looking at Guy #2, who changed all the rules when Guy #1 asked him to. Who didn't enforce the few, tattered rules that remained. Who, over the course of the last couple of decades, never learned the most simple two-letter word in the English language, one that translates pretty well into virtually any global tongue. That word is NO. Who, in a very real sense, simply went missing. Who got gone.
Everyone isn’t going to be a leader. But everyone isn’t going to be successful, either.
Success is now the domain of people who lead. That doesn’t mean they’re in charge, it doesn’t mean they are the CEO, it merely means that for a group, even a small group, they show the way, they spread ideas, they make change. Those people are the only successful people we’ve got.
So the challenge is: your choice.
If you are a working mother, you are a neglectful, bad parent who puts her career before her god-given duty to her family. If you chuck it all up to stay at home with your kids, you risk becoming branded an empty-headed housewife who has given up her ambitions and wasted the investment that went into her education.
Work/life balance? You can keep your day planners and how-to books — give me a dog and I’ll be just fine.