Wednesday, December 12, 2007


James M. Kilts, the man who is widely credited for taking Gilette out of the toilet and back into the corporate heavens, has a book called Doing What Matters. I heard about this book a while back, but decided to let it gather dust while I was out & about, working like crazy.

Now that I'm recovering from a flu and on quarantine at home, I decided to crack it open and start reading it. By page 5, I found some lines that rang so true to the heart of what I believe in and what bothers me with how things are run in the "positive reinforcement" day & age that I know I'm going to enjoy reading this book cover to cover several times:

Kilts writes:
"Let's take the performance measurement system as an example of what had to be done. Like many companies, Gilette used the five-grade system of Does Not Meet Expectations, Needs Improvement, Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations, and Outstanding. Perversely, the worse a company does, the more likely it is that more people will be graded higher. Managers don't want to demotivate people in bad times, so they move them up the scale. That's why two-thirds of Gilette's managers were at the top of the performance scale despite the company's ongoing decline in performance.
Over time, the system has little meaning and actually hurts performance."

This is the ESSENCE of integrity. Instead of having the courage to tell someone that what they're doing is substandard, most people simply shy away from the confrontation. If they were given stronger behavioral and social leads to follow from the management at the top of their firm, perhaps these same individuals would have no problem stepping up and motivating their slacking co-workers to either get cracking or get out.

Get this book and read it, re-read it, digest it, and implement it! This is some AMAZING technology!

Book Cover


Nikki said...

I think you'd totally dig Integrity by Henry Cloud, as well as Good to Great by Jim Collins. REALLY interesting stuff, along these very lines.
We have the CD versions if you want to borrow them sometime. :]
(Great for a trip to San Diego!)

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Thanks, Nik. If I didn't have to listen to rap or rock to stay awake on long drives, I'd totally take you up on the offer this weekend. :)