Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Taking our “performance-based” culture to the living room

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

We run a business that is performance-based.  When we don’t perform for our customers, we get replaced.  As ubiquitous as this law of the farm is today, twenty years ago companies placed a higher value on loyalty than performance.  Think about how unconventional that sounds; like saying it’s more important to be liked than respected.  None the less, it’s true.  I know because I watched my grandpa & father live through the “Reward Loyalty” era.   My professional career began that way but quickly transitioned in the early ’90s into the “sink or swim” culture we have since euphemised as “performance-based”.  I’m good with it.  I better be good with it because I don’t really have a choice.   Unfortunately, there are a number of my contemporaries who have found more solace in reminiscing about how things used to be than moving forward and reinventing themselves and their craft.  I hope to God that I never become one of them.  But, like an alcoholic, I must be aware that I am susceptible to falling off the wagon every day.  I experienced how easy things used to be.  I have friends who talk about how things used to be.  It’s a path that leads to unemployment and self pity, but it’s always a possibility that ultimately is my choice.

My two young sons love to watch TV (surprise).  Fortunately the programs are Disney Channel and PBS, so we justify their obsession as “educational”.  That was yesterday (literally).  Today we are taking our performance-based culture to the living room.  In order for our boys to engage in another 30-minute TV program they must pass a 6 question test and get at least 4 out of 6 answers correct in order to watch another TV program.   Now that is performance-based!  The early results are good.  Both seem engaged and motivated to perform.  The sense of entitlement that came with sitting on the leather couch watching a 56-inch color TV has somewhat diminished, at least for me.    It’s early, but I like where this is going, and believe it or not, so do the kids.  If the only memories they have growing up are performance-based, perhaps they will enjoy an advantage in the ultra-competitive world they will reside in.  Check back with me in twenty five years.