Replace Rewards or What are you celebrating? – Menlo #5

[This post is part of a series about Menlo Innovations, the company described in “Joy, Inc.“]

Cover of Joy, Inc. There is an interesting passage in “Joy, Inc.” about change saying that when you take away one reward system you have to replace it with a different reward system – one that encourages the behaviours you’d like to see – as soon as possible.

As long as the old reward system lives, people will fall back into their established patterns. And rewards don’t only mean bonusses. It also means bonusses, but non-monetary rewards are more important, such as being needed, being the hero, etc. You need to replace these rewards – e.g. with the ability to go on an uninterrupted vacation and without huge stacks of work waiting when you come back.

In that vein, Rich told a great story: A research company wanted to work more in teams. Everybody was on board, good people, they implemented new collaborative processes and still… People didn’t “really” work together. And they couldn’t put their finger on why that was. Rich was stumped too.

Until he finally thought to ask: “What do you celebrate around here?” And they showed him their wall of plaques for patents granted. Each plaque with 1 name on it. They celebrated individual achievement, not group achievement and it hobbled their intention to collaborate. It worked out for them after they had torn down the wall.

What does your company celebrate?

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