Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Bad organizations

If you work for a company or run one that sounds like this, be wary.
  • The butts-in-seats method means that when a company starts like holding you strictly to time cards, they are demonstrating a powerlessness to determine your actual worth.  Bad indicators like this suggest an artificial organizational structure and definitely not a meritocracy.  Showing up on time in this organization is therefore far more important than providing value to the company.
  • Appearances are everything, which is similar to butts-in-seats, a dress code means appearing to be a good worker means you are a good worker.  A strict dress code is all the more painfully false.
  • Must use the "maybe" requirement means you're never allowed to say "no" or "I don't know" to your boss, which is considered defiance or stupidity.
  • Tacitly encouraged to slow innovation means make sure that breakthroughs are gradual and continuous -- you are not rewarded for one gigantic win and then 100 little ones.  Better to have 50 medium successes to illustrate yourself as a continuous producer.  This may be why diseases are no longer cured, only managed and why small out-of-someones-garage companies are so important.  Also the "what have you done for me lately" problem.
  • Power to the manager involves extremely relative metrics for success that empower managers to continue asking for more from their employees, without rewarding them for real work.
  • The police method means having impossible metrics available so you can always justify a firing.  Similar to how a good cop can always come up with a reason to arrest you.

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