Every Move You Make, Every Breath You Take — Bertrand Duperrin Has to Channel Eli Goldrath to Teach HRM 101 Again

Bertrand Duperrin has an interesting post on his blog entitled “[Quote] ‘Tell me how you measure me, and I will tell you how I will behave’.”  From Duperrin (corrections in parentheses my own):

Tell me how you measure me and I will tell you how I will behave. If you measure me in an illogical way… do not complain about illogical behavior…”
Eli Goldratt
That’s a quote anyone should have in mind as companies are trying to change the way work is done, to give a boost to collaboration, agility and transverse work in new organizational models.
Nobody likes change. That’s a given. So organizations are trying to find more and more inventive ways to make people accept it. They try to make fun even if it means making style prevail over content, employees are turned into ambassadors, a lot of communication stuff is done (to) make the new model fit in the old and still (a valid) one, and change focuses more on peripheral activities so the sensitive core business won’t be impacted.
But the most sensitive matter in change management, an almost taboo one that is often considered as “something we’ll do if there’s no other solution” or even ”(if) it’s the only way to be successful…” is measurement, evaluations and in many cases…bonuses….

After years of MBA and HRM degree programs that follow the history of employee incentives, scientific management, Theory X and Theory Y, KITA, Mazlow, Deming, etc. we are still revisiting that the manner in which you grade people will result in what they tend to emphasize.  If it is short-term thinking based on immediate financial value of the stock, that is, that every aspect of the company is “dollarized” then people will give you only those things that will keep them gainfully employed under that scenario–the long term be damned.

Project managers have a hard enough time managing risk for what actually needs to be built.  It seems to be a symptom of raiding value that properly belongs to the enterprise to force project management to focus on the quarterly balance sheet at the expense of project life cycle optimization and success.  After all, a contract is a contract, and win, lose, or draw the end item application needs to be delivered regardless of whether you think it was a good investment after the fact.

We know that the management improvement market is still populated by hucksters who tell senior management what they want to hear without actually–you know–having to do anything for the long term health of the project or the enterprise.  The forced primacy of investor interests over those of the health of the enterprise, its personnel, and its customers is a breach of the unwritten social contract (and of the written contract and company charter) that has ruled business for well over a hundred years, but which seems to have been set aside under the rubric of “creative disruption.”  Sounds new but it’s the same old bad management, missing leadership, and pirate mentality.

Team building–which should be at the core of any collaborative undertaking–takes leadership.  “Management” is the set of methods to achieve the goal.  But leadership is essential when dealing with people regardless of what you do.  My colleagues in business still seem to be confused about whether people are a commodity or living and breathing entities.  In particular, when you are dealing with creative people in collaborative information environments, management fails where leadership is absent.

Note:  The post has been modified to correct some translation errors and for clarity.  Many thanks for the comments critiquing the initial post.