Sunday, January 8, 2012

People Paid Attention

America's decade of mean and greedy leaders was noticed by the public.

"We are at the end of a difficult generation of business leadership, and maybe leadership in general. Tough-mindedness, a good trait, was replaced by meanness and greed, both terrible traits.

Rewards became perverted. The richest people made the most mistakes with the least accountability. In too many situations, leaders divided us instead of bringing us together."--GE CEO Jeff Immelt on December 9, 2009

Recent poll results show:
83 percent said they have less trust in “politics in general” than 10 or 15 years ago

79 percent said they have less trust in big business and major corporations

78 percent said they have less trust in government

72 percent reported declining trust in the media

These figures are startling when compared with Gallup polling from the 1970's or right after 9-11-2001, when as many as 70 percent of Americans had “trust and confidence” that the government could handle problems.

The 70's lacked excessive and complex Executive Compensation formulas.  During that decade social scientists and management theorists increased our understanding of intrinsic motivation, the innate desire desire to do good work.  Pay served as a secondary motivator, as long as it was fair.

The new millennium, with its over reliance on extrinsic manipulation through rewards/punishment, snuffed out people's natural desire to do good work.

Many watched the decimation of their job, while top executives raked it in and politicians entered the unholy alliance of using the power of the government purse to benefit donors.  Those strange days continue, but it seems people noticed.