Star ratings can’t leave you to improve

This Left Outside post is getting attention, and it’s good:

That brings us to the least obvious, but most damaging effect of rating your waitress. Good management is good. Better management can drive big improvements in productivity. And everyone knows how bad it is to have a bad manager, it can be utterly hellish. In fact, one of the benefits to the sharing economy is exchanging bad bosses for no bosses — or distributed, delegated monitoring by your customers. But in losing your bad boss you lose your good boss too. The boss who can help train you, help you move up the ladder, who can teach you how to do you job better, who can watch your work and help you upskill.

There’s a really interesting point here. As the original post points out, we’ve got very good at distributed monitoring and evaluation. There have been a hell of a lot of projects aimed at doing something similar for improvement but you can’t really say they have worked half as well or even at all.

Certainly, the Internet is full of great resources for learning…but that’s not quite the same thing. For a start you need the motivation. You also need the time.

And it strikes me that a really important function managers have in improvement is letting you do it rather than just banging away. This may be in the form of protection from other managers or management-information systems, or in the form of protection from your own sense of work discipline. Improvement usually involves experimenting, practising, studying, or investing. Even if you’re a freelance you still need to make the work (or indeed the procrastination) stop long enough to let you get better.

1 Comment on "Star ratings can’t leave you to improve"

  1. These are systems designed around efficiency, but built in is the notion that the existing system is the best possible, it just needs to be implemented better…


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