Team Building

Subject: Team Building
From: David Orr <dorr -at- ORRNET -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L (E-mail)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 11:07:00 -0600

We tried all sorts of gimmicks for team building but still had
backbiting and political nightmares until we took G. Edwards Deming's
advice to separate compensation from performance. So long as people's
pay is connected to someone's perception of their performance, people
tend to try to take credit for good things and shift responsibility for
bad things onto others. According to Deming, most often both the bad and
good things come more from the system within which the people are
working, more than from the people themselves.

We changed our compensation system so that everybody gets the same
percentage raise each year on their anniversary date. At the end of the
year, depending on how the company does, we allocate a pool of money to
be divided equally among all eligible staff. An administrative assistant
gets the same dollar amount as tech writers or instructional designers,
even though the salaries for the latter are higher, reflecting their
skills sets. This is a tangible statement that everybody on the team is
as important as everybody else.

Guess what? Like magic, the political bickering and backbiting ended
overnight. This approach has worked for eight years now.

M. David Orr
Orr & Associates/The Usability Group

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