Re: [unrev-II] high performance teams

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Mon Jan 31 2000 - 13:54:27 PST

From: Eric Armstrong <>

Bernie DeKoven wrote:
> ...most (large) organizations have systematic disincentives for
> collaboration...there is no actual financial benefit for doing so
I think it's far to say that the majority of financial incentives
go for "A" work. I got a raise for getting localized documents
out the door -- not for automating the process. The fact that the
automated procedures give me time to explore other more interesting
areas is a personal benefit.

In general, it has occurred to me the correct automation strategy
   a) Automate every part of the job that you can
   b) Don't tell ANYONE that you did so

The reason is the "fill your time" reflex that exists in most
organizations. Once you automate a task so that it takes less
time, the organizational response is find other things for you
to do. The result: Instead of making the work easier (typically
my original lazy intent for automation), you wind up working
just as hard. When more is achievable, it quickly becomes
expected. After the initial appreciation fades into higher
expectations, one may wind up working harder than ever!

In part, the problem is the American work ethic. In Europe, there
is a strong consensus that one works in order to *live*, rather
than the other way around. But the pride we feel in our productivity
prevents us from adopting that viewpoint...however humane it may be.

If the goal is work less, then paradoxically "B" activities may
take on greater value, because the contribute to a humanistic
goal, rather than an organizational one.

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