Things to Avoid (part deux)- the “Shiny Box Syndrome”

“People will do anything to cure a trouble, but little to prevent it.    -Claude Hopkins

I continue to be baffled by the over-reliance of organizations upon software programs designed to accumulate data on the errant performance of…people.

Decision-makers are apparently still being sold the “big shiny box” (the latest database ‘guaranteed’ to cure their ills).

The thought must be that if we can just put enough negative information into enough bits and bytes, the ‘magic answers’ on how to “fix” people will surely pop out!

Reality?  Shiny boxes can be very expensive, and besides, you can’t “fix” people.

The great news is- people don’t need fixing!

Rather than attempting to cure your troubles by reacting to the complex data accumulation of much, why not keep it simple and be…proactive?

Why not make a conscious effort to catch people doing things right?

What gets recognized gets repeated.

Please offer your thoughts below.

Until next time,


By |2013-08-01T22:12:31+00:00August 1st, 2013|Latest Insights, Next-Level Performance|5 Comments

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  1. Scott Colmer August 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    I completely agree with the statement: What gets recognized gets repeated. I have been with the same company over 21 years. I went from production to the office to management and back to the office. I also worked on special data tool projects over those years which saved my company several thousand dollars and ensured the happiness of multi-million dollar accounts. I really enjoyed management. Because I believe it is not a crime to steal a good idea, I had certain bosses of mine I like to emulate. One in particular made a practice of praising people publicly for their accomplishments and noted their particular gifts. I treated my team like a group of super heros, each with a special talent that I noted during meetings and in general passing. Together, we sucessfully ran an account that had production in 7 different US states. It billed out at one million a week. Volume went up, errors went down. It really works.

  2. Steve Shaver August 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I agree with the thought of wht gets reconized gets repeated. Unfornutaley to complete budgets , get new equipment and hold people accountable according to corporate standards.
    It is odd that this was sent out. It seems like the message was meant for me.
    I just had an employee in my office that saw her production when we posted it. On the surface it implied that the performance wasnt good but we know that it was and there were unusual circumstance around the production that we knew about. So we knew she was still performing and she knew she was until she saw that and she began to doubt herself. This is a shame since she is an incredible person.
    Thank you for sending this.

  3. Sesh August 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    I am a reliability consultant. Failure of man made systems is fundamentally due to human failing.
    I am convinced.

  4. Sesh August 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    All man made system failures are fundamentally due to human failure. I have realized it as Reliability consultant.

  5. Robert Buckingham December 7, 2013 at 5:08 am - Reply

    I agree completely. How much more data do we really need to prove that people make mistakes?
    We ultimately need to SEE what our employees are doing right, and then reinforce those behaviors (sometimes with more than just a “well done”). Seek out employees who are willing to carry the torch and become advocates for good behaviors on the job… then reward them for doing just that. Go to where the work happens and coach folks for success, one on one. We can make the world a safer place, one person at a time.

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