Bartleby – Why truthful play pays | Enterprise
December 12th 2020
NICE GUYS final finish. This well-known saying was coined by Leo Durocher, a well-known baseball manager who was known to injure his opponents and steal from card players. In 1969 his Chicago Cubs had a senior manager in the final weeks of the season, but he distinguished his team (and the singers) in that the team failed to qualify for the World Series. For him, the bad guys ended up in the back.
This is another story written by David Bodanis, a well-known author of his scientific books, who has expressed his interest in how leaders should use their power. An important message in his book, “The Art of Fair”, can be found on the topic: “The moral forces of the world have changed”.
The Empire State Building was built in just 13 months, and this included the demolition of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel that housed the site. Paul Starrett, the builder, was doing well for his staff according to the time, overseeing the safety and paying the workers on windy days to work. The daily wage was more than double the daily wage and hot meals were served at the venue.
This concept is known as “fair pay”. Companies that pay their employees well and who treat them fairly can attract good, motivated employees. Contrary to many construction projects, the Empire State Building had a small staff population, and workers said the idea of вЂ ‹вЂ‹ harvesting projects such as building a small railway to bring bricks to the site. But Starrett was not hypocritical; hired accountants to oversee the work, to check that all equipment was recorded, and the attendance of employees was recorded four times a day.
The author contrasts Starrett’s story with Eastern Air Travel, a plane built by Eddie Rickenbacker, a pioneer pilot who gave mechanics 40 hours a week, pay-per-view payments and pensions. But when Frank Lorenzo took over the company in the 1980s, cut pay, separated his employees and pursued a move to seize the company. The strike was called off, and the East closed on.
Another difference cited by the author is that between Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s most outspoken protagonist, and his successor, Satya Nadella. The Ballmer did not like Apple so much that he confiscated the iPhone from an employee who is being portrayed by a derogatory employee and pretended to be stomping. On his watch, Microsoft missed out on a number of reliable business opportunities. On the day that Mr. Ballmer announced its departure, the share price rose by 7.5%. Under the leadership of Mr Nadella, Microsoft has managed to shift its focus to cloud computing and has even been briefly named the most important company in the world.
Public service also requires leadership. When Danny Boyle, director general, was asked to organize the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012, he faced a daunting task of maintaining confidentiality as the project required many volunteers. Specific measures would have resulted in volunteers signing a non-disclosure agreement. Instead, he asked them to be surprised — and he convinced them to do so. They did so because of the older way he treated them. They listened to their ideas by changing some aspects of the ceremony and making it clear (by threatening to step down) that volunteers would not have to pay for their own clothing.
Mr. Boyle demonstrated one of the most important qualities of good leadership, says the author, which is a willingness to listen. This is consistent with the concept of “distance”. If the relationship has a very long electronic score, it is assumed that the young workers should not question the decisions of their supervisors; a lower score means that older employees are more willing to listen.
Opinions vary widely as obedience occurs. A study by the University of Johns Hopkins found that 64% of medical professionals surveyed felt that their careers were working together, while only 28% of their nurses agreed.
People can be obsessed with ideas on how to solve a problem and ignore any advice that might explain otherwise, especially if it comes from a young friend. “If your children are not afraid of you, and you are humble enough to know that you are wrong, you can develop strategies that will help you to be unprepared,” Bodanis wrote. That is a wise lesson. Fear control can work for a while, but it will eventually fail. Remember Durocher.
The article appeared in the Business section of the print media under the headline “Fair play”
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