To design a learning organization it is critical to stop doing some of the typical management techniques that are imbedded in corporate life.  Really? We can make things better by not doing things?  Not only will you make things better by not doing things, but you will also immeditaley realize a cost and energy savings.  Imagine, you won’t have to work harder to make things better, you just have to work on the right things.

Here are some wrong things that you can stop doing:  annual performance reviews, safety bingo, employee of the month, all incentive programs, MBO, pay for performance, shift differentials, recognition and award programs, slogans, and all internal competition programs geared to get more from the current system.

Really?  Wow! That will free up some time and a lot of cash.  But won’t employees be angry?  Sure they will if you don’t replace those goodies with effective leadership and a real stake in the business.

See, most companies have crappy leadership and use the techniques listed above as a way to distract employees or to give them the impression that they are part of a successful venture.  When in reality, you cannot motivate an employee.  Most managers can barely motivate themselves much less motivate a work team.  But …. the traditional HR folks will tell you otherwise.  They will say that without all of the parties, awards, incentives, games, goals, carrots, and sticks we won’t be able to compete.  I say … the only people that benefit from all of the trickery are the HR people who find some sort of career satisfaction sitting on their asses administerting these programs.

Employees don’t want programs, they want leadership.  And, they want to be part of something that is meaningful and successful.

Base Pay – make it generous, adjust occassionally to be competitive.

Benefits – at market.

Evaluations – use learning agreements.

Leadership – teach them how to teach others to problem solve.

Supervisors – process improvment specialists.

Teams – go solve problems!

Profit Share – 10% of pre-tax profits distributed to employees.

Work System – cross functional/in tact/ad-hoc work teams that are cross trained to make either make product or provide service

Coaching – the preferred method for improving team and individual performance.

That’s it.  Simple.  And cheap.

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