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12 Blogs for Christmas

Holly&Ivy

This has been a great year for the Pocketblog, seeing reading figures rise substantially and reaching the milestone of our 100th blog posting.

So, with Christmas coming at the end of the week, let’s do a round-up of some personal favourites from among this year’s Pocketblogs.

Here is something for each of the twelve days.  Enjoy!

1. Start as you mean to go on: Happiness

After some New Year’s Resolutions to start the year off, we dived into the subject of Happiness, with ‘Happiness – as simple as ABC?’ about Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy – the fore-runner of CBT.

2. … and Start Topical

We then moved into a subject that was much in the news in February; and still is.  With ‘Bankers’ Bonuses and Brain Biology’, we looked at recent neuroscience and how that relates to Adams’ Equity Theory.

3. Generations

In February too, I wrote two blogs about sociological ‘Generations X, Y & Z’ and ‘Generation Y at work’.  I followed this up by another about what comes ‘After Generation Y?’.

4. The Gemba

In May, inspiration waned for a week, so where did I go to find it?  ‘The Gemba’.  I got it back, and later that month, got idealistic in ‘Reciprocity and Expectation’ looking at the Pay it Forward ideal and the realities of Game Theory.

5. Why do we do what we do?

In the first of two blogs on how to predict human behaviour, I looked at ‘How to Understand your Toddler’ (mine actually) and Icek Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour.  Later in the year, in ‘Predicting Behaviour’, I looked at whether a simple equation (hypothesised by Kurt Lewin) could predict all behaviour.

6. One of the Best Business Books of the Year

… according to the Journal Strategy & Business is Richard Rumelt’s Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The difference and why it matters.  In ‘What Makes a Good Business Strategy’ we looked at some of his ideas.

7. The Apprentice

This year, I have been a big fan of both series and have written my own episode by episode analysis of both The Apprentice and Young Apprentice.  I also did one blog on each for Pocketblog: ‘The Apprentice and Five Levels of Leadership’ and, for Young Apprentice, ‘Decision Failure’.

8. Drucker Triptych

Has any one individual been as influential in establishing management as a pragmatic academic discipline as Peter Drucker?  To recognise his various achievements, I wrote a triptych of blogs over the summer:

  1. The Man who Invented Management
  2. Management by Objectives
  3. R.I.P. Corporate Clone: Arise Insightful Executive

And one of Drucker’s direct contemporaries was W Edwards Deming, so I also took a look at ‘Demings’ System of Profound Knowledge’.

9. Crazy Times

Will history look on Tom Peters with the respect that it holds for Drucker and Deming?  Who knows?  But without a doubt, Peters has been influential, insightful and provocative for thirty years or more, and I am sure many of his ideas will survive.  In ‘Crazy Times Again’, I drew a line from FW Taylor (father of ‘Scientific Management’) to Peters.

10. The Circle Chart

In ‘Going Round in Circles’ I returned to management models and one of my all time favourites: Fisher and Ury’s Circle Chart. I applied it to problem solving rather than, as they did, to negotiation.

Fisher and Ury are experts on conflict resolution, as is Morton Deutsch. In ‘Conflict: As simple as AEIOU’, I looked at a fabulously simple conflict resolution model that originated in Deutsch’s International Centre for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution.

11. Two Notable Events

Two notable events made the autumn memorable for Pocketblog: one sad and one happy.

  1. In ‘A Bigger Bite’ we marked Steve Jobs’ passing
  2. With ‘Three ways to get it wrong’, we marked our hundredth blog, by looking at one of the towering social psychologists of today, Daniel Kahneman

12. And finally, our most popular topic

Tuckman’s model for group formation has proved to be our most popular topic by far this year.  We have returned to it three times, each time looking at a particular facet:

  1. ‘Swift Trust: Why some teams don’t Storm’
  2. ‘Team Performance Beyond Tuckman’
  3. ‘Tuckman Plus’ is the first of two posts.  It is the last topic post of 2011 and its companion (‘Part 2: Transforming’) will be the first of 2012

So here’s the deal

  • Have a very merry and peaceful Christmas.
  • Have a very happy and healthy New Year.
  • Be good, have fun, stay safe, and prosper.

From all at Management Pocketbooks,
our colleagues at Teacher’s Pocketbooks too,
and from me particularly.

Mike

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The Prime Minister’s Salary and a Force for Change

If you are living in the UK and pay attention to the news, you won’t help but be aware of just how many public servants are paid more than the Prime Minister – 170 according to the Guardian and Telegraph.

Why does it matter?

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Photo credit: World Economic Forum

It isn’t what we get paid that matters

It clearly matters that public servants’ pay is set properly.  But why does the comparison with one post matter?  The answer seems to be that most of us are less concerned with how much we get paid, than we are with how our pay compares to that of the people around us.

If you work in an organisation, you and your colleagues are probably curious about what everyone earns.  And whilst you may be happy with your salary now; how would you feel if the colleague at the next work station doing the same job at the same level earns 5% more than you?

Enter John Stacy Adams

It was John Stacy Adams who first articulated a management theory of fairness.  He was an industrial psychologist at the General Electric Company when he published ‘Inequity in Social Exchange’.  This puts our feelings into a mathematical framework:

What matters are the comparisons between the outcomes we get (through reward such as pay) and the work we contribute.  For me, that ratio is: O/W.

The Comparison

What I will unconsciously do is compare my ratio (O/W) with your ratio, as I believe it to be, (O’/W’).  If I find that they are equal, I will be content.  If, however, your ratio is bigger than my ratio, I will be unhappy – I will perceive an ‘inequity’.

So do why we worry that 170 senior Civil Servants are overpaid?  It must be because there is an instinctive belief that they cannot possibly do that much more work than the Prime Minister.  Is this true?  My answer to that is: ‘I don’t know’.

Equity works both ways

It is also the case that if I perceive I am over-rewarded, then I will probably feel a sense of guilt.  Our innate need for fairness is what drives Adams’ ‘Equity Theory’.  He argued that where we feel a sense of inequity, we respond in a way that will, in our minds, remove the inequities.

An example, please, Mike…

Sam is a sales rep; her boss, Chris, is head of sales.  Chris regularly sniffs out the best sales leads from her team and then ‘poaches’ the client, to try to make the sale herself.  She also re-allocates her less promising leads to other sales reps, like Sam.  Sam is angry and wants to do something about this.  She is confident in her ability to close a sale and knows she is every bit as good as Chris – if not better.

So what’s going on with Sam and Chris?

Chris believes she is better than her team members.  She has the experience and the seniority.  Having worked hard to achieve it, she unconsciously (maybe consciously) thinks she deserves to get the best leads and pocket the big commissions.

Sam has worked hard to generate the leads.  She feels Chris is unfairly cherry-picking the best leads from Sam and her colleagues, getting the rewards of their work, for little input.

A Force for Change

When Sam and her colleagues feeel the  inequity is ‘too great’, they will be motivated to do something about it.  Whatever it is – maybe challenging Chris, or under-reporting their progress – Equity Theory predicts change.

Look out quangos!

Management Pocketbooks you might like

Adams’ Equity Theory is one of many theories and models of motivation in the Motivation Pocketbook, by Max Eggert.

9781870471602

You will also find a detailed analysis of two other powerful models of motivation in the Management Models Pocketbook,

… and a wealth of guidance on how to manage your staff, Chris, in the People Manager’s Pocketbook,

… and ideas for how to handle your boss, Sam, in the Managing Upwards Pocketbook,

… and tips on how to have that tough conversation, Chris and Sam, in the Tackling Difficult Conversations Pocketbook.

PS:

Yes, Max and I have spelt Stacy correctly – it’s Wikipedia and another famous business amd management website that have it wrong!

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