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When Incentives Kill Culture

The UPwards Leader


The recent news of the Wells Fargo scandal of employees who opened various credit accounts without customers knowledge in order to meet assigned quotas shows a major failing in leadership in the company. Many customers had various accounts and/or lines of credit opened without their consent in order for the employees to achieve imposed-upon quotas from upper management and shareholders.

While the termination of over 5000 employees may have been warranted (after all they did choose to open these accounts unawares to their customers), that fact that it was a system-wide behavior shows the lack of ethical leadership that created this culture in the first place.

I am a huge proponent of bonuses, sales goals, and other incentives to enable people and organizations to both attain goals and be rewarded for the hard work that goes into it. But as with everything, there needs to be a balance of realistic goals…

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