Ever wonder why the bad guys always seem to win? I think that they sometimes lose, but our system is setup to help them win. When I say bad guys, I don’t mean a black mask wearing drug dealer getting kids to sell their stash. I’m talking about the every day guy you go out to lunch with bad guy. One example: The in-school serial cheater who gets the degree because the system doesn’t want many failures. So the teacher will give them a stern lecture and let them get on.. or maybe they approve sub par work. This doesn’t happen all the time but it does happen, and it happens at every single level of our education system. It’s the whole reason why we have standardized tests to try and circumvent this problem. Sadly most of the time the bad guy wins.
there is no standard CxO level report where the metric is “how many non-demanding and highly deserving people with great work ethics got raises ”
Then you put yourself in a situation where you have two employees; the new employee who doesn’t know the job well but is belligerent about demanding the top pay, and the quiet, diligent, and loyal worker who has been around for ages and doesn’t demand pay increases but needs it. Even though the new employee doesn’t really have the skills, HR needs to place someone quickly… and this person is the best of the options. The bad guy wins.
Another spin on this model is the corporate wank who calls HR and threatens to leave the company or sue if he doesn’t get his maximum bonus, even if noone else is getting their bonus. ‘Talent Retention’ gets involved and not only does he get his bonus, he also gets a retention payment as well – and yes, if you’re not familiar with them, in big companies, especially ones who have a component of their work force that’s highly competitive, like CDL drivers or software programmers, there really are ‘talent retention’ departments. These departments exist by design to facilitate additional payments to employees with bad attitudes. Think of them as the customer retention department of the satellite TV company. Oh, you want to turn off your service? If you stick around I’ll give you two months free service and free HBO for a year! The guy in the next house over doesn’t get this because they didn’t call into the cancellation line. In the same way at the company the guy in the next cubicle over doesn’t get a retention payment or bonus, because like the worker mentioned above, she just wants to do that awesome job. The bad guy wins.
Sometimes it’s fear that keeps people from requesting the most they can get, fear of retribution, fear of losing what they currently have. Sometimes it’s just distaste. There are personalities in the world who don’t like to ask.
The worst offender of all? The conniving corporate politician who gets promoted again and again, and at each level they have broader scope to destroy the lives of those they oversee. They manipulate in very subtle ways, they take the credit for the work of others, they use false justifications, they are secretive. Their career long machinations get them up the corporate ladder, but interestingly enough, at least in my experience, it’s generally only for so far. I think the most senior positions tend to only be filled by those who truly wish to do good. The true entrepreneurs are like good managers. They really do believe in treating their people well. But not the manipulators. They may not get the top prize, but these bad guys win too.
Clearly every manager of people in the professional world is not evil, but in a world where your productivity often gets priority over people by systematic design, is it any wonder that the bad guys can find places to flourish? To the best of my knowledge there is no standard CxO level report where the metric is “how many non-demanding and highly deserving people with great work ethics got raises?”
I think it’s the ego of the bad guy or bad gal. They don’t think they are doing anything wrong, just demanding what they think they deserve. Ego and entitlement… two items that we should all be aware of. But even if these traits were highlighted as things to avoid in our organizations, I think the bad guys would learn how to hide them as well.
It’s a shame that those entrepreneurial CEO types can’t just issue black hats and white hats, then we could all tell the difference.