All 2 entries tagged Cultural

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March 08, 2009

Rewards, good or bad?

Every organisation I have always been part of had rewards of some sort. IF you behaved properly, a reward (and sometimes if you didn`t a punishment). Every chance I had to organise something on my professional life took that into consideration. I created prizes related to process improvement, to Knowledge Management, etc. I must say I remember reading some people against this kind of approach, but never paid attention to it. When working on my OPP and CBE PMA`s a found this book (Punished by Rewards - The problem with gold stars, incentive plans, A`s,praise and other bribes) that defended the opposite idea. He said people did not change because of those bribes. They just tried to cheat the system. Once again is something that relates to Deming, that was also not a fan of it. His argument builds on psychology, and is very well defended and rational. I used it as a criticism and reflection in my OPP, CBE, and PIUSS PMA. That came to my mind because in PIUSS several authors defend it a form of making a new culture stick. Create punishments and rewards for those who behave. Today reading something about KBAM I found the same kind of argument. I must say I think the logic behind the book is perfect. I can not argue against it. On the other hand, perhaps out of habit I still can`t think this is wrong. The only defence I can present, however, that if people are not changed by prizes or punishment at least you use those prizes to communicate, to indicate what is desired. This might raise awareness, might make people think about why this reward/punishment is been applied and if you can clearly communicate the reason....another possible advantage is that by giving recognition to someone who behaved in an specific way you could be just saying a "thank you"to someone who did something that the organisation understands is good and desired by it. And that can be used on a Six Sigma program or in a KM initiative. But I agree that people will not change just because of that, they can see that, reflect on it and perhaps change out of their reflection, but not because of the reward itself.


November 28, 2008

Organizations culture

Working on CBE`s PMA. Reading about something I`ve always thought of that is how fascinating is a companies culture. So many different ways or working. Impressive how companies in the same country, city, industry, pretty similar staff have such different ways to decide and organize, such different values.


It`s obvious to say country, sector, seniority of staff, etc etc etc are strong influences on a company culture. But connecting CBE with LE, it`s amazing the effect leadership styles have on a company. It is amaze to think that, for example, a global industry, with hundreds of thousands of employees spread in the whole world can be influenced by the style of a CEO, one person that`s is as close to this people as Britney Spears or the Dalai Lama. The example that strikes me the most is Jack Welch. But there`s one that I find very interesting. There`s a Brazilian company that is the biggest heavy construction company in latin america. They also have huge positions in petrochemical and services industries, but they`re heart is civil engineering, big stuff (airports, bridges, dams, etc etc). They have sites in all continents. They have some 50.000 employees. Some of them are members of my family, including my brother (and a uncle who is  responsible for keeping the company culture going). The company follows a Management Manual kind of thing, a business model that was created by their founder (that is over 90 years old but still alive and working!) that is called Odebrecht Empresarial Technology (Odebrecht is the company`s name).   It is amazing how all employees knowing or not somehow act in that way. They all receive the book when they join the company, but I`m pretty sure very few read it. 2 examples:

- They are against showing off richness, wealth. The founder and his family have always been very simple, accessible, humble. Even though they are billionaires, but they lead a very simple life. I`ve been colleague with one of they`re grandchildren in university (public one, not-paid!) and her car was VERY VERY simple. They reproduce that into the company. Be simple, don`t show off,  no unnecessary luxury, not private jets or anything like that for anyone!

-Independence. The managers have a great deal of independence. They manage each one of the sites in a very free way, they have a lot of power to make decisions (but of course they respond for it as well).


Now imagine how to implement an excellence management model and having to deal with all the implications of companies specific cultural issues?




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