Why Reward “Success” ?

The usual annual slanging match between directors and unions as the survey of directors remunerations show that directors average pay has “risen steeply” n x inflation for the nth year in a row, etc. They disagree, yet they agree “We must reward success” say the directors, “Yes, we mustn’t punish success” say the unions, blah, blah, blah.

The meaningless news story struck me because I’d just been browsing Tom Peter’s who puts all his presentations up on his web site, even though at this very moment, you could be paying $1750 a head to hear him strut his stuff at Birmingham NEC (Sharing the stage with Michael Porter, Charles Handy and Gary Hamel mind you.)

Tom is still preaching “excellence”, with the same passion as ever, judging by the colour schemes in his powerpoints. Excellence; The relentless pursuit of difference. Innovate or die. The bottleneck is at the top of the bottle. Do we employ enough weird people these days ?. etc ..

Anyway the problem with the management vs employees debate above, is that whilst they are talking success, they are meaning “my slice of the pie” – that objective, measurable, accountable, financial pie of earnings, and in doing so they (or the media reporting them) miss what matters :

Reward excellent failures
Punish mediocre successes

ie Don’t forget the quality.

It’s all slogans, and most of Tom’s are lifted from others, (with acknowledgement, to Phil Daniels in the quote above) but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. Far from it. It’s “pathetic” as he says, that people still need reminding of this stuff. Keep pushing that meme Tom. Of course, that’s why Tom’s slides are freely available, memes rely on replication. Copy and use freely. Aristotle has one hell of a head start on us.

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