Monday, July 7, 2014
I was listening to someone complain about all the people she has to manage. They keep secrets from her. They are very bad at explaining what their projects are all about. That makes the manager's job as a go between very difficult.
Maybe it's because I'm old and cynical, but that didn't surprise me at all. It wasn't about the manager. It's about the system. I pointed out to her that there were few visible and immediate rewards for sharing knowledge and some serious downsides.
If no one knows exactly what you are doing, no one can tell you it's being done wrong.
As I saw it, the problem wasn't with the people, but with the system. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the manager's ability to change the system. She was stuck trying to change the people.
Of course, this was an outsider's view. No doubt there are a million little reasons for things being the way they are.
Quite a few things in the world have the incentives in the wrong place. Business is all about making money. That's fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough. Imagine if it was about improving the quality of human life. What if there were incentives for making the world a more peaceful and fun place?