Qui Suis-je ?

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Lyon, France
47, married, 3 marvellous kids. IT Director for the last 15 years for a large multinational company. I believe in coaching, in professional life as well as in private and sports.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Vicious circle or negative spiral

... also called "law of bad series" or how to deal with an error made by a team member ?

You need to understand that at a given time, a team member has a finite capacity of doing things. It can be assimilated to an energy level. Let's say the guy starts with an energy level of 100 to do 10 tasks he has to achieve. Let's say he takes 10 of this energy to do task A, and does it wrong (he makes an error).  Then his boss comes and hammers strongly on his head because of this error. This hard time results in a significant loss of energy, at least -20. Now he has 100 - 10 (energy taken to do the A task) - 20 (energy lost due to his boss angryness) = 70 to do the rest of the tasks, where normally he would need 90. But on the top of that, because he was hardly criticised on the first task he did wrong, he will focus more energy on it to get it right and correct it, using 20 of energy where normally only 10 is required. So he is left with 70 -20 (energy consumed to redo the A task correctly and over killing it) = 50 to do the rest of the tasks, that normally require 90...
Guess what happens next: he makes rapidly another error on one of the remaining tasks, because he has a great deficit of energy to do these, and then his boss comes back even more angry about him ! and the ball is rolling towards total failure...

Morale of this story: if you're the boss and one of your guys makes an error, be comprehensive as long as it was not a fault, and balance the lost energy from your guy with your own in order to avoid falling in that negative spiral.

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