Trickle down misery is coming to Gentiva sites, courtesy of senior executives who've embraced Jack Welch's management practice of lopping off the bottom 10% every year. Sure, what Jack did at GE will be presented as fun and inspiring in a company wide OneGentiva rollout, but it will have the same draw as a Colonial stockade.
At the next big confab, which site leader will be tar and feathered? Who will have their head and arms bound in a stockade and offered to other leaders as the anti-example? What happens when these humiliated leaders return to their regions, areas or sites, especially individuals with already fractured egos? Misery will multiply exponentially.
So welcome to Gentiva's Funhouse of fear and humiliation. Flashback to the late Stephen Covey who'd been invited by a company President to improve teamwork in his organization. Covey said:
The President wanted to create a spirit of teamwork and cooperation among his people. I asked, "Are you sure the problem is with the people? Isn't it possible you have some bad systems, such as win-lose systems." The President didn't think so.
Up there on the wall of the President's office was a curtain and behind the curtain was a horse race. On the left side there were actual pictures of horses and he cut out an oval face of each manager and pasted them on each horse. On the right side was a beautiful picture of Bermuda. It showed a romantic couple walking hand in hand down a white sand beach.
He'd bring his people together and give his weekly psych up speech on how much better they and the company would do if the would just cooperate and give the teamwork. They would all assent and nod and so forth, then he'd open the curtain and ask, "Who's going to win the trip to Bermuda?
Many organizations say they value cooperation and teamwork but really everything is geared toward independence and competition. This suggest the real problem lies in the systems deeply established inside the culture, not with the people.
Gentiva is spreading Jack Welch's toxin that has done nothing to improve education over a decade and is the basis for President Obama's health reform. Breaking organizations and people into tiers, be it top 10%-bottom 10% or quartiles, for reward and punishment is simplistic and incredibly damaging. It shows no understanding of variation in numbers, systems or people.
Doing something well and beating others are clearly two different motivations. Gentiva executives only aspire to be a little bit better than their competition, so there's nothing audacious in the "doing something well" category. Senior leaders are intent on the beating side of the equation. When will your turn come and at whose hand?
Surely, a company that cares for people in the last six months of their life can offer something serious from leadership. Respect, relationship, knowledge seeking, balance are all missing in Gentiva's Shallow Management Funhouse. Many Gentiva employees already noted something very wrong. It's hard to believe management can make things worse, but this group is uniquely crude enough to do it. I hope things are better at Generic Hospice, but my guess would be "No."