Quick Fixes May Not Be Good Fixes

Stickman King TutRecently, it was reported that employees at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo accidentally broke the braided beard off of the iconic burial mask of King Tutankhamen. Even more disturbing is that the beard was quickly glued back on using common epoxy. To make matters even worse, the epoxy got on the face of the mask, leaving marks where it was hastily scraped off. Curators at the museum said they were told to make the repairs quickly since the mask is one of the main attractions (revenue generators) for the museum.

I have seen many broken incentive plans similarly repaired. Incentive plans are tightly linked to the success of the company. When they stop working correctly there is a big push to get them fixed as fast as possible. Fast fixes can be bad fixes. Your state of mind and ability to execute when you are rushing is far different than when you are operating at your peak. Some of us have been rushing for so long, we believe that rushing IS our peak.

You need to have a plan to identify potential issues as they occur.  That plan needs to include recommendations of the process to fix potential problems (before they happen.) You need to get management to understand and sign off on this approach when times are calm. When something goes wrong, pull out your approved approach and provide a specific path to fixing the current specific problem.

Quick fixes aren’t always a bad choice. When something minor goes wrong a little chewing gum and duck tape may be exactly the thing you need. But, when the problem is with one of your main attractions (or in our case, retention or motivation) rushing to fix the problem is likely rushing to create a bigger problem.

Take the time to look back at prior projects. Has there been a disconnect between getting the job done and getting the job done right? The unexpected errors that result from a culture of “its already too late” can limit a program’s effectiveness and limit your career. In the end, the person demanding that you fix things quickly is seldom the person who will be blamed when they go wrong. Don’t become the example of the former compensation professional that messed things up when there was a problem. Become the compensation professional who made sure things become better when the unexpected happened.

Dan Walter is the President and CEO of Performensation a firm committed to aligning pay with corporate strategy and culture. Get your copy of the new book: “Everything You Do in COMPENSATION IS COMMUNICATION.”  Written by Comp Café writers, Ann Bares, Margaret O’Hanlon and Dan Walter. Dan has also co-authored of several other books you may be interested in including“The Decision Makers Guide to Equity Compensation”, “If I’d Only Known That”, and “Equity Alternatives.” Please connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter at @Performensation and @SayOnPay.