Date
24 September 2017
CEOs need to think carefully before tweaking long-standing company policies as staff reaction to such top-down moves can be unpredictable.
CEOs need to think carefully before tweaking long-standing company policies as staff reaction to such top-down moves can be unpredictable.

Business school lessons may not always work in the real world

In a Facebook post, a blogger who identifies himself as “Manincentral CK” shared this story recently about his entrepreneur friend.

A few years ago, the son of CK’s friend returned to Hong Kong after completing his overseas studies. The well-educated youth was soon given the mandate to run a company.

Unhappy with the staff performance, the new boss introduced an evaluation system based on what he learnt during his MBA course.

Under the new policy, the people in the bottom 10 percent in performance scores would be fired.

The father wasn’t sure about the policy, fearing it will cause too much anxiety to staff and put them under undue pressure.

Still, he allowed the scheme to go ahead as he didn’t want to come in his son’s way.

In the first year, things did improve and the young lad was boasting about his achievements. But the next year, things took a drastic turn to the worse.

The office atmosphere became tense as employees sought to undermine each other with an eye on performance records. With their jobs on the line, nobody wanted to end up in the bottom 10 percent group.

Rather than strive to win new business, workers began to sabotage colleagues to make others look bad.

As office politics became rampant, the company saw its financials deteriorate for the next two years.

Narrating the story, CK made an apt observation that some of the lessons learnt during MBA courses may be far removed from the real-life situations that a manager would face.

Sometimes, it is essential to unlearn a few things that you imbibed at school.  

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RC

EJ Insight writer

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