Friday, July 22, 2011

10 Simple Rules

Micah 2:7b (NLT)

"If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting."

Years ago, my employer cared about people.  We rewarded those who did well, and disciplined those who did not.  I'm not talking caning, or anything like that, but we used "progressive discipline."  We talked to our people each day about something they were really doing well, or those things that were lacking.  After three discussions about the same topic, we were required to reward them or retrain them.  If retraining failed, we sat them down formally.  If that failed, we began progressively suspending them without pay until changes were made or termination was necessary.  (I actually fired one of the nicest guys I'd ever met.  He seemed like a great guy -- honest, intelligent, hard-working.  He just wasn't cut out for that kind of work; he was a danger to himself and his co-workers.  I couldn't allow that.  I was completely honest with him.  I fired him.  He thanked me -- sincerely.)  We trained and retrained constantly; we gave feedback like it was going out of style.

Likewise, management was trained frequently.  Management received salaries and bonuses based on performance.  It was the trickle-down theory; the same way the bad stuff rolls down hill, the good stuff will as well.  One workshop that stuck with me the most, taught us how to treat people.  One lesson really made an impact:

"The greatest injustice you can do the best employee, is not disciplining a problem employee."

A sense of fairness is something we are born with, but my employer is no different than the rest of society today.  We seem to be leaning toward an unfair version of "fairness."  We strive to be fair to the person with the most money, the best connections, the "squeakiest wheel"  -- the person who is the biggest threat, rather than the person who is most deserving of fairness.  We are so afraid of offending those who, let's face it, need to be offended. 

When one of the dogs has done something wrong, I need only to sternly ask, "Who did this?" to know which dog it was.  The guilty pooch immediately tucks tail and begins to slink from view.  The innocent party remains unoffended, tail still in full swing, ears lifted, looking at me expectantly.  Guilty people, however...  Guilty people try to lie their way out.  They badmouth the person who caught them.  They protest laws and twist things around to make themselves look like victims.  They cry "unfair" and incite others to hop their bandwagon.  They try to cloud the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, superior and inferior.  But why are they so uncomfortable?

Micah 2:7b (NLT)

"If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting."

Rules help us to see our limitations, our strengths as well as our weaknesses.  Rules help us to know what is expected of us.  Following rules makes us stronger and more comfortable with others.  Rules establish a measure of quality.  Abiding by rules helps us to all live in relative comfort.  Sure, we may not get what we want, but rules are designed to help us all have what we need.
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