A moral dilemma

First, some housekeeping. It is my humble duty to report a piece of news that will no doubt cause an immense sadness, distress or melancholy among many regular readers of this column. And by “sadness, distress or melancholy”, what I really mean is a profound feeling of joy, celebration – or far more likely – cold indifference.


Due to other commitments, your humble correspondent’s column is going to be published weekly, rather than daily. So from now on, be sure to keep an eye out on StartupSmart on Friday or Monday mornings for your dose of insanity from Taskmaster Towers and Parts Unknown.


With that out of the way, it’s time for a moral dilemma.


In business, it feels natural to reward success and competence while weeding out failure. In this dichotomy, success and competence are viewed as going hand-in-hand.


Well, imagine this scenario: There is a business opportunity. The upside opportunity if it succeeds is huge, the downside risks and costs if it fails to materialise are negligible. There is no accurate way of knowing whether this opportunity will pan out ahead of time or not.


You assign a team of your employees to create a product that taps into this market opportunity. They deliver their product on time and on budget, meeting or exceeding all their key criteria along the way.


Despite their best efforts, that business opportunity doesn’t materialise, however the cost of this failure to your business is minimal. In the end, they failed cheaply, on time and on budget.


In short, it’s a competent but – in the circumstances – ultimately not successful team.


So do you reward the team that’s competent but not successful? Or do you start plotting to weed them out?


It’s worth taking a moment to think about.


Get it done – today.


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