“But the worst part of my little bonus system,” Reggie confided, “was not that my managers manipulated the numbers, but that the system I created changed the mindset. I corrupted their thinking. Digging out of that hole is going to take time. And some of them will not survive. I created a contrived system to reward something I thought was good.
“And the winner of my little contest, the successful candidate who gets the position as the new division VP, is going to think he got the job by gaming the system. It doesn’t matter how I explain it, in his heart, his experience will tell him that he got the job by playing with the numbers.
“It is really true,” Reggie continued, “the behavior you reinforce, is the behavior you get. I created the incentive. I got the behavior.”
“If you are going to create a different environment, what has to change first?” I asked.
“All crumbs lead to the top,” Reggie said. “I have to change first.”