Tag Archives: David Bolchover

Give attention, not bribes

I’m often guilty of giving my three year old a treat when I need her do something quickly – without asking questions. I know this is probably Not Good but, stuck for time and patience, I do it anyway.

Now I read over on my friend Graeme Semple’s blog that parenting expert Elizabeth Hartley Brewer has published two whole books on the subject, Raising and Praising Girls / Raising and Praising Boys, where she points out that once a child realises that treats are available, they simply manipulate their parents in order to secure more treats.

Graeme asked whether bankers’ bonuses really work, and linked to David Bolchover’s new book, Paycheck: Are Top Earners Really Worth It? Bolchover’s work reminds me of Dan Pink’s research into intrinsic versus extrinsic motivators (see Pink’s great TED talk on the subject).

The trouble with intrinsic motivators is that they take a lot more time to establish: a strong sense of community, a set of meaningful values and cohesive social capital don’t appear overnight (unlike bonuses).

Look at famous examples of truly networked organisations: Dee Hock’s Visa, Ricardo Semler’s Semco and The Co-operative. It’s clear that listening and collaboration have been built into the very fabric of these companies – and that these values have been built upon over time. From the outset, bosses like Hock and Semler took time to really pay attention to employees’ needs.

In this way, good management is very much like good parenting: there are no shortcuts.