Expectations built on examples

In the preface of "The Requisite Organisation" (1989) Elliot Jaques wrote: "To get the best of this book: ... you must be willing to undertake a substantial long-term program of organisational and human resources development in which you and your senior colleagues sustain a personal interest and commitment". What makes it so powerful for me is that it sums up what we are working on through our blogs, reflections, and probes. We are busy building a resource of thoughts and ideas that we hope will not only help people practically, but also be food for thought and discussions.

We read and hear in various books and articles - including the Bible -  that we should not "follow their example. For they don't practice what they teach" (Living translation Matthew 23:3). Given human nature, we know this is easier said than done. We also know that telling someone that they should not do something while you are doing it, often has the opposite effect (specially with children).

In our recent document "Probing Executive Remuneration" (see below) we discuss a few ideas around capitalism and how some changes resulted in high remuneration of executives. One aspect we did not touch on is the concept of how the system sets examples and creates expectations. Irrespective of the reasons or what is being said, people considered as "successful" - whatever that means - become examples of what can, or should be done and expected.

The expectation of higher income - as per shareholder capitalism - has become so ingrained that one often hears people among the top 5% of income earners in the world complaining about how poor they are and how little they are earning. Executives cannot expect a large salary and expect people to remain committed when they they must work for 350 days to earn what the executive earns in a day. That is not deemed as equitable. 

"Probing Executive Remuneration

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