June 4; Hard Choices Are Discriminating
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Six: Correction; 4 June

Rebuke the wise and they will love you.

Proverbs 9:8b

Hard Choices Are Discriminating

Equal

There were some 6,000 company shares in the pot. The CEO said, “Give all the stock to John.” The other decision makers resisted. The other manager-stockowners wanted to evenly distribute the incentive compensation across the team. Each individual would get about 10%.

This is what passes for fairness in this modern age. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité We are all free and equal as brothers, right?

Maybe in France. But not in a competitive culture. Where winning counts. Employees should not be treated equally to each other – but treated equally to a standard. Just as we are not equal to each other; we are equal under the law, and equal under our Creator.

Jack Welch

Jack Welch

It was hoped that the non-performers would be thankful for getting the stock and start producing. And no one would get their feelings hurt.

But this is not real leadership. Giving every person the same recognition is easy. This is not the heavy lifting required of hard management decisions. Not every person is equal. Not all performances are equal.

Jack Welch is condemned in academia as a heartless CEO who would dare to acknowledge superior employee performances; and eliminate non-performing resources: be they people or companies.

He does not care for managers who do across-the-board anything. Across the board pay cuts. Or pay raises. Or capital investment.

Welch calls these rewards an indiscriminate “sprinkling” of corporate capital that is being wasted on the non-producers,

Companies suffer when every business and person is treated equally and bets are sprinkled all around like rain on the ocean.

Which leads us to a…version of lousy leadership: bosses who do not have the guts to differentiate. The facts are, not all investment opportunities are created equal. But some leaders can’t face that reality, and so they sprinkle their resources like cheese on a pizza, a little bit everywhere. As a result, promising growth opportunities too often don’t get the outsized infusions of cash and people they need. If they did, someone might get offended during the resource allocation process.

The wise employee knows if he needs to improve and where if he is working for a Jack Welch-like leader. If another manager gets resources and you don’t, he’s doing something better than you are. The smart manager will learn.

“Sprinkling” does not get resources to promising people or initiatives. ‘Equality’ dulls the poor performer and discourages the superstar. The poor performing manager is led to believe that he’s as capable as a good manager.

A good supervisor will be open and candid in evaluation and rewards. Mature staff will embrace the critique; poor employees will not.

Rebuke the wise and they will love you, Proverbs 9:8b.

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