People always talk about the power of recognition and how it inspires people to aim to be the best that they can be.
But to me this is bull!
Sure, when I watch the Olympics or Superbowl, and I see all the reward and recognition that they receive I’d love to have some of that, but not having any chance of succeeding, I don’t move one muscle to try and achieve it.
So in my opinion inspiration is overrated, especially if people lack the belief that they can achieve whats on offer.
But we can turn this on its head and give everyone a chance of recognition by naming and shaming our poor performers.
Why does this work? Well because everyone has the ability to be dead last, all it needs is a lack of effort or skill, and we can all achieve at least one of those.
By naming and shaming people, we ensure that everyone will make an extra effort, rather than just the top 10% who have a chance of winning employee of the month, and if we can get everyone to try a little bit harder then we will have chance to significantly improve our performance.
To do this you really need to make those poor performers suffer, ridicule them to such an extent that no one, and I mean no one wants to finish dead last. At my last company we used to have a Dunce of the Week hat that the winner, or should i say loser, had to wear everyday of the week.
Sure some of them complained to HR or quit, but who cares if your worst performer quits, it gives you a chance to recruit someone new, someone better, and maybe even better looking if you get what I mean.
We also used to make this into a weekly award show, it was good for the morale of the rest of the team, it used to give us something to laugh and joke about. But there was also a serious point it it too, it was a stark reminder to the rest not to be that dunce of the week, as they saw what happened to them, and the ridicule they experienced.
I found name and shame to be so good that we even extended it to the bottom three employees, with a Gold, Silver and Bronze dunce of the week, we did this to make sure that everyone put in that bit of extra effort, because with just one everyone could see who was performing badly, but with three awards there was more risk that you might be the one.
When you take this approach you do need to make sure you ridicule all three otherwise there is no shame in winning it, and remember shame is the key.
If you’re company’s big enough you can always create the ‘Hall of Shame’ for those people that win the Gold Dunce award three times, or whatever number you think is appropriate. I have done this in several companies with starling results.
I did hear of one company who put the lowest performer of the months desk in the elevator, and made that their office for a week, but unfortunately the elevators at my company are not big enough for that to work.
I dream of working in one of those big offices where the elevator will be large enough for us to be able to take this approach, as I think could be the coup de grace to get performance to the highest level.
Imagine having to explain to everyone why your office is in the lift, how shaming would that be. It wouldn’t just to be your colleagues it would be to everyone, customers, relatives visiting, and even people from other departments.
Remember: the more you shame people the better the rest will perform.
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