Replace Pay-for-Performance and Annual Reviews with Leadership for Meaningful Improvement

May 25, 2011

Pay-for-performance, merit pay, and annual reviews have not worked out well.  W. Edwards Deming started as a statistician but became one of the greatest business thinkers in human history. His ability to penetrate common business issues and get to the fundamental truths and fallacies behind them was amazing. His research clearly illuminated what most of us had already felt, if we took the time to think about it: pay-for-performance and periodic performance reviews, while often yielding us pay increases and other rewards, almost always left us feeling mistreated and angry, and sometimes in competition with our colleagues – not a good feeling.  Why is this? Read the rest of this entry »


Startup Company Operations: The Hummingbird or the Shrew

October 8, 2008

The hummingbird identifies and harvests food sources with great but regulated energy, while the shrew forages furiously in a constant battle for survival. For purposes of discussion I will consider only the grass-roots startup company, not spin-offs or startups sponsored by existing companies.  Companies, like the people they are made of, exist on a continuum. Nobody is at the extreme or exactly in the middle of any range, but I will address relative extremes here to illustrate my point that well-planned and disciplined operations work best for the startup as well as the established company. The hummingbird illustrates the company that maintains and evolves a plan, and works to make the plan happen, while the shrew illustrates the company that operates on inspiration and enthusiasm, and often seems to be always late and scrambling, or operating as if in an emergency.  How does the startup company’s style of operation affect its prospects for successful growth and future prosperity? Read the rest of this entry »