Review of Part 1
Last month it was pointed out that some cultures and some locations encounter a bribe system among staff, officials and bureaucrats. The factors that dominate the ‘whys’ of a bribery system were listed as:
- Underpayment of staff
- Lack of fear
- Peer pressure and culture encouraging participation in bribes
- Considering that bribes are not an automatic choice of action for everyone who earns a low salary then the other factors (b to e above) must come into play. Therefore, we cannot solve the bribe situation by looking at pay. For the most part people accept their salaries as long as they are fair with respect to what can be afforded by the enterprise and the relative amount that others in the same situation are being paid. As long as there is consistent treatment of staff, salary will not be an issue. However, if pays are not consistent, then the underpayment of staff problem must be dealt with first.
2. A bribe might confirm, in a person’s mind, the sense of power over others. Power appeals to (i) low self-esteem people and (ii) those deprived of any sense of power because of the work environment. However, (i) low self-esteem is extant in systems where bribes are not prevalent. People who are in a system that deprives them of any sense of power except that gained by being able to withhold a service (ii) are confronted by a systemic problem epitomized by a loss of autonomy and authority. The solution lies in section ‘e’ of this Newsletter.
3. In an environment where bribery is rare, a sense of pride for most people exists while for some, the fear of getting caught and punished pervades. These two considerations keep most people resisting the temptation to accept bribes. If bribes are common, a lack of pride and a lack of fear for the act set the climate. In order to deal with the fear factor, a clear statement from the top has to show that a change is underway: bribery will not be accepted and the top officials must not even appear to engage in indirect bribes – perks of the job, etc. Lack of fear is indicative of a system out of control – a systemic problem, as discussed below in ‘e’.
4. Peer pressure is an enormous force. People do the strangest things because of those around them. If others around a person are engaging in bribes, that person is encouraged to participate in it too. In fact, it can be dangerous NOT to engage in the same bribery activities of those around. The solution is to resolve the systemic problem discussed below in section ‘e’.
5. People who are disenfranchised from the surrounding society feel no remorse in accepting bribes for they are of the opinion that bribes cause harm only to a harmful system of which they no longer feel a significant part. It is ‘us vs. them’. Several keys exist for turning this around.
The leader must be determined to make a change.
The individuals within the group must become enfranchised by:
(i) Introducing the concept of ‘respect’ to the group. Bribery shows contempt for respect.
(ii) Involving each individual as an important part of the organization.
Part 2 – Enfranchising
Enfranchising (e) is the last step, but by far the most complex one. It digs the deepest and provides the best and perhaps the only real chance for a lasting solution. All of Part 2, therefore, is dedicated to “Enfranchising”.
Enfranchising is the creation of a situation where employees become the authors of their own fates on the job. A method to ensure enfranchisement is encompassed in the Five-Star Approach used by CCCC for employee hiring, engagement, participation, evaluation and motivation as detailed in the following paragraphs.
The Five-Star Approach
While there are many methods to successful employee management, we will describe the one we know best – The Five-Star Approach. Consisting of five keys, it is an example of a system designed to encourage the development of employees to Excellence, an elevated state of achievement.
|1||Select people by||
selecting for PAVF* talents
|2||Set expectations by||
defining right outcomes
|Job Measurement sheet|
|3||Focus on||strengths||Employee Dossier|
|4||Motivate staff by||
managing around weaknesses
|Fit P people to P tasks, A people to A tasks, etc.|
|5||Develop employees to||
|Three Self-Appraisal forms|
The Five-Star system will not only get people involved, but also it will help an employer find people who can achieve Excellence, a superb level of individual performance.
- Select for PAVF* Talent
*PAVF, personality temperaments, are explained within the following paragraphs.
Do not seek someone with all the PAVF* talents – the so-called well-rounded person. Instead, fit the personality to the job.
Use interview methods that will ensure that a primarily P job has a primarily P person assigned to it. For example, a sales position is a P (Producer) job. It usually demands a direct, result-oriented, action-driven person. There is no point in hiring a dominantly F person (Friend) who loves encountering people but will never ‘close’ the sale. Accounting often demands an A talent (Analyzer) person who is good at detail, is precise and thorough. A-type people actually enjoy the detail; in fact they often thrill at it. There is no point in hiring a V (Visionary) – a creative dreamer and ideas-oriented extravert – for an accounting job. So it is true of all types of jobs and all types of people. If you do not fit P to P, A to A, V to V and an F person to an F job, the employee will always struggle with the position regardless of skills and training. Harry the wallflower will always be Harry the wallflower. No amount of training will teach him to enjoy interactions with others. The best he can do is to have acceptable interactions; he can never thrill at the interactions and, therefore, the job.
- Define Outcomes
Set expectations by defining the right outcomes and not the processes. Let each person find the personal best routes towards those outcomes.
Standardizing the ends prevents having to standardize the means.
- It encourages employees to take responsibility.
- Make sure in defining outcomes, employees are doing what is right for customers.
- Make sure in defining outcomes, employees are doing what is right for company.
- Do what is right for the individual employee’s PAVF makeup.
- You get the employee becoming their own harshest critic, raising their own bar on performance (by ignoring any standardized quota systems). They compete against themselves. It is the only way to Excellence.
- Focus on Strengths
- Let employees become more of who they already are. (P becomes more P, A more A, etc.)
- Put a round peg in a round hole – a mainly-A person in a mainly-A job, engaged mainly in A tasks – into a place where they thrill rather than struggle.
- Spend more time with your best people to:
- Learn how to do things better. (You learn how to achieve Excellence by studying success, not failure.)
- Send a positive message – the reward of your attention for good performance (the opposite to the usual situation).
- To improve, study your best workers. Stop inferring success from failure; i.e. focusing on weakness and trying to learn from them exclusively. Instead spend time with your best and learn how they succeed. The better the employees, the more time you should be spending with them.
You know you have achieved success in focusing on strengths when: you become in awe of what any of your employees can do – when you truly admire that person’s capabilities. How many of your present employees do you admire?
- Manage the Weaknesses
If an employee has a bothersome weakness, you must ask three questions:
a) Is the weakness a deficiency in skills or knowledge? Then get skills or knowledge training.
b) Am I tripping the wrong PAVF triggers? i.e., motivating a shy person with public praise or motivating a non-competitive person with contests. Then stop it
c) If it is not either of the above, then by default, it is a PAVF talent misapplication – such as asking on a recurring basis for a shy person to do public speaking or asking an impatient person to do a fine, detailed task, i.e. am I asking a P to become an A or vice versa? Training is not an option; it is a waste of time. But the situation is NOT a disaster because none of us has all of PAVF.
Solution: A person working in the wrong PAVF area is always a person with a struggle, a thrill that is never felt. Therefore you, as a manager, must:
- Devise a support system – checklists for disorganized people.
- Find a complimentary partner – an A person with someone who lacks A, for example.
- If none of the above works, it is the wrong job. Find another role for the employee. The sign of an employee in the wrong job is when you spend most of your time managing around the person’s weakness.
- Employees at Excellence
While arresting the drivers of a bribe system is enough of a job in itself, the same process helps move employees to the level of Excellence. Why not pursue the goal of employee Excellence since you will already be on the path towards it?
The Essence of Excellence
The essence of Excellence in a company stems from Excellence in the employees; if most of the employees are operating at a level of Excellence, there in no doubt that the company will end up at Excellence.
The key to employee Excellence is the personal motivation. Since we have already said that you cannot motivate employees from outside (see reference 6), they must be motivated from inside (called intrinsic motivation). All you can do is to remove the barriers to motivation – specifically those dozen inferred from the Job Satisfaction survey (see reference 7).
What drives people? People left to their own devices search for and overcome challenges; they try to master skills; they attempt to attain competence. On achieving competence, people seek new levels of complexity in what they do. People in all walks of life, in all ages, follow this pattern. Do you? If you do, why would not your employees do so too? The answer obviously is: they do!
The key is one word: autonomy. In less sophisticated terminology: let them be the owners of their jobs rather than the tenants of their jobs.
You must create an environment of autonomy within the goals of the overall structure. As a manager, back off; let the employees be their own harshest critics to achieve the objectives you want.
How does the autonomy concept fit with the result of Job Satisfaction survey ideal of the good working relationship with the boss? The survey says:
“After a good boss gives you a project,
- The boss supports you
- The boss lets you do it your way
- The boss gives you lots of feedback
- You take on a sense of ownership.”
Parking-Lot Job Warning
There should be no such thing as a dead-end job. You should not have the attitude of a certain job being the kind where people will always aspire to leave, for greater things. This commonly happens in lesser-skilled jobs such as receptionist or assembly line worker. Just because you personally can’t imagine someone being happy in the job, does not mean there is no one who would like to be there. But, the opposite is true. Thus, instead, you should hire a receptionist who thrills at being in direct contact with people or an assembly worker who gets jollies out of seeing one more, well made, widget roll off the assembly line. These positions must not be parking lots for other career paths in the company. People in parking-lot jobs will be permanently demoralized. People who thrill in the jobs can produce double the work with double the quality of the parking-lot group. Search for a PAVF fit in every domain, including lower-skilled jobs. Otherwise you are missing opportunities for job Excellence.
Promote to Management or Specialization
- Avoid only one ladder to success – promotion to management. Instead create prestige and rewards for Excellence in specializations, i.e. Excellence in any and all jobs.
- Make compensation for “star” performers as great as that for managers.
- Thus, create two options for employees: management or specialization with corresponding pay and prestige for both.
- Create an evaluation, self-examination, self-discovery system. Focus on future, not past. (See separate CCCC Self-Appraisal form.)
- Evaluate employee every 3 months.
- Have employees track their own progress. (See separate CCCC Employee Review Dossier.)
- Have the employee judge the supervisor and the company. (See separate CCCC forms.)
- ¾ of evaluation review should be spent on future, only ¼ on past.
- Salary review should be isolated from performance review.
Bribes are symptoms of an employment system that has become dysfunctional because it leaves employees disenfranchised. Its correction requires (a) a serious commitment from management for improvement and (b) a monumental effort (such as the Five-Star Approach) to get employees back into the system as partners of group achievement, rather than as passer-bys.