“And what about you?” I repeated. “How much of your responsibility, as a Manager, have you abandoned, thinking a bonus will be an effective substitute?”
“What do you mean?” Alicia asked.
“I mean, setting the context for the work, making task assignments, making sure the system is appropriate for the work, adjusting the system for the work. How much of that goes out the window when you put a bonus system in place?”
Alicia was quiet. Finally she spoke. “I guess when we put the bonus system in place, we think it will do a lot of my job for me. The reality is, the bonus system may work against me.”
“Here is what I find,” I replied. “Companies put in bonus systems, because they don’t have managers who are capable of being managers. As their managers stumble around, ineffective, companies try to drive team behaviors with bonuses. What a mess.”