Individual Competence vs. Organizational Efficiency LO28850

From: Benjamin Compton (
Date: 07/16/02

Four or five years ago I was an active participant on this list. I stopped
participating because of unexpected changes in my life, and I simply
didn't have the time to contribute or to read each message. (I have
re-subscribed and read each message, although I don't have as much to say
as I once did. . .) Just before I unsubscribed, I had a number of
conversations with those on the list about how to reward the best
performers. I was in favor of a formal ranking system, where people were
grouped in thirds based on their performance. The top third was to be
given the highest pay raises/bonuses, the middle third was reward but less
generously, and the bottom third was told they'd better not be in the same
position at the next evaluation or they'd be asked to leave.

My idea wasn't particularly popular on the list, nor has it been
particularly popular when I've explained it to those I work with.
Nonetheless I've held that it is the best way to create a very efficient,
dynamic, competitive organization. Central to this conviction is the fact
that I believe individual competence is the basic ingredient to an
organizations success.

Given that fact that so many people have pushed back at my idea, I've been
careful to look for reasons why my thinking is flawed -- essentially,
reasons I believe my thinking is flawed. I couldn't find one, until today.
And I thought I'd share it with this list.

Today, a friend sent me this article in e-mail:

As I read it, I found myself agreeing with the first part, stunned by the
middle, and finally accepting the article as the best explanation of why
my thinking is flawed that I've come across. In fact, it has convinced me
to think through my beliefs on this matter even more carefully. I may even
change my mind, but that's a big step so I'm not committed to it.


Benjamin Compton Frisbeetarianism, n.: The belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.

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