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Game of the Month Management Only by Objectives

Management Only by Objectives

Management_Only_by_ObjectivesIn this game, a company installs a strong meritocracy based on MBO. A good year-end rating will result in a high bonus and good career; a low year-end rating will result in poor career progression. What makes this a game is that the manager does not take into account any other factors in assessing performance (such as major uncontrollable external events or a change of plans midyear), and this creates a climate where people feel very much hostages to fortune, or where people compete unfairly to win at all costs. This game is particularly insidious because it operates behind a guise of objectivity; it allows players to justify their decisions about promotions, bonuses, and salary increases as “perfectly logical” when those decisions are only logical from a very narrow perspective.

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Games of the Month

Token Involvement

To play Token Involvement, a manager conducts opinion surveys, focus group, or involvement meetings to communicate that "your opinion matters", but these activities are done only to make people feel involved rather than actually to involve them. The real intention is just to get rid of the complaints and for managers to show their management that they´re doing the "right" thing-involving their people in the decision-making process. The same game is played when leaders involve their direct reports supercially, soliciting their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on thei own view. Cynicism becomes employees´ultimate response to this game, and they lose respect for management. Perhaps evens worse, when management really needs employees to be committed and contribuing to a major project, they have great difficulty securing this involvement.


Praise for Games at Work

jacopoA terrific read not only for senior leaders and executives but also for employees seeking growth in complex organizations. Goldstein and Read dissect the interpersonal dynamics that affect a company’s performance, provide a framework to understand the games that are commonly played in businesses around the world, and offer practical tools to correct these behaviors and improve the organization’s effectiveness.

Jacopo Bracco Executive Vice President DIRECTV Latin America

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