Mocha Express
Thought provoking commentary on
Business, Technology, Organizations, and Organizational Dynamics
to clarify my thinking and engage in intelligent conversation.
Library: Commentary  Book: Elucidate

2.2 Micromanaging versus Rewarding Goal Accomplishment

February 17, 2013
Demetria Gallegos

My summation of the bottom line of this article is:
Identifying goals and empowering, is more effective than micromanagement

Hard to Manage

It is hard to manage employees, and especially hard to manage kids.  Employees at least have a tactical, measureable "reward": their salary.  Kids, especially with their lack of skills and experience, don't usually have a tactical reward structure and it is muddied up with the parental bonding.

Actually, I see a lot of similarity between the two tasks if you consider a senior manager needing to manage a very junior employee.  Kids are "rewarded" with various things: likely the most important being parental attention.  It is interesting to examine behaviors and consider just how many of the "not the nicest" are performed simply to get attention.

The Wall Street Journal article is sort of another of the classic "how to manage kids".  Lots of folk whine about managing kids and then, since the parent isn't really rewarded, the actions wander away from the "stated".

The Problem

The issue addressed in this article is the classic:
time wasting on computers/web vs productive results
Yes, this article is focused on "kids" but the same problem occurs in businesses everyday: just how much time do your employees/do you, waste on the web with Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, etc?

The kids in this article are teens and do the typical:

  1. homework
  2. room neat
  3. chores, etc
and opposed to
  1. net flixs
  2. games
  3. social media, etc
or, short term "instant gratification" versus long term tactical and strategic goals.  It is also the tactically "structured and easy" versus "unstructured and hard".

Solution Alternatives

So, what did they discuss doing?
Like most business teams, it spanned a range

When managing people, one of the hardest problem is fostering creativity while being productive.
As most managers know, having lots of grade C minions to shuffle around

Some Alternatives: Micromanagement

Some of the discussed solutions included:

  1. hats for each child, festooned with colorful feathers to signify homework done, room cleaned, workout accomplished, so that we wouldn't even have to ask when we spot them lying around like unblinking zombies.
  2. One kid proposed hard limits on time spent,
  3. limits on each device, honor-system idea,
  4. change the passwords every day,
  5. strict attribution/monitoring off use,
  6.  an automated reporting,
  7. parental controls, and
  8. the lament: "poor me!  It is a addictive!"

Goal Directed Management

As they concluded:
"The key is not to lock them out
➤ having them learn to decide what's right and what's wrong is 10 times more important,"
=>  grades decide the access issue.

  1. If a child is holding a 95 or higher average, we simply won't interfere with her digital consumption choices.
  2. Between 90 and 95, as long as report cards show an upward trend during the six grading periods our school uses, again no interference.
  3. Anything below a 90 will merit restrictions on discretionary computer time, including losing the privilege of working in their bedroom.


The problem and the result seem to be very classic management:
       Goal Directed
       Micromanagement/hands on management

The question they didn't address is the role of the managers/parents:
are they observers/rewarders, or
are they collaborators?

Looking at this from a Situational Management perspective
Tell, Sell, Collaborate, Delegate
I would suggest parents need to be in Q IV or edge of Q III:
usually delegate but available to collaborate.
For these quadrants, the key question/resource is "what is the reward structure to motivate?"

They seem to have nailed the "home work" but what about "room" and "chores"?

Recent Commentaries
in Elucidate Book

Commentary:Elucidate - December 29, 2016
9  Ice Age Survival
Commentary:Elucidate - September 22, 2016
8  Ice Core TimeLine Munge
Commentary:Elucidate - June 23, 2016
7   Why did Agriculture Start 13,000 years ago
Commentary:Elucidate - June 15, 2016
6  BBC Propaganda, again
Commentary:Elucidate - June 10, 2016
5  BBC - Propaganda
Commentary:Elucidate - March 23, 2016
4  Finches:Urban Ones Smart??
Commentary:Elucidate - January 25, 2014
3.3  Qualifying Experts
Commentary:Elucidate - April 24, 2013
3.2   Degrees of Risk
Commentary:Elucidate - April 06, 2013
3.1  Analysis of Medical Insurance Discussion
Commentary:Elucidate - February 17, 2013
2.2  Rewarding Accomplishing Goals
Commentary:Elucidate - February 03, 2013
2.4  Computer ate my Sbx Reward
Commentary:Elucidate - November 16, 2012
2.1  Stifle Free Speech
Commentary:Elucidate - February 20, 2012
1.1  Mayberry Rules
Commentary:Elucidate - June 28, 2011
2.7  Everything Old is New Again
Commentary:Elucidate - August 02, 2009
2.3  Banana Slugs:The Law of Unintended Consequences:Protect and Lose


1   Clever, but not very Smart
  January 01, 1997
1.1   Mayberry Rules
    February 20, 2012
2   Random Elucidatons
  January 01, 1997
2.1   Stifle Free Speech
    November 16, 2012
2.2   Rewarding Accomplishing Goals
    February 17, 2013
2.3   Banana Slugs:The Law of Unintended Consequences:Protect and Lose
    August 02, 2009
2.4   Computer ate my Sbx Reward
    February 03, 2013
2.5   The End Of Innovation or How To Lie With Statistics?
    July 02, 2005
2.6   Lying With Statistics:CNN Article that Organic Food is Not "more nutritious'
    August 22, 2008
2.7   Everything Old is New Again
    June 28, 2011
2.8   Topical:just like Sub-Prime => Commodity Greed
    April 19, 2008
2.9   Tools:Spreading Knowledge That Can Hurt:
    April 14, 2008
2.10   Tools:Trying to Help While Still Selling Corn
    February 27, 2008
2.11   The Game is Rigged:Attacking with Speculative Analysis
    January 06, 2008
2.12   Getting your "Eyes On" to see ATV Damage
    November 26, 2007
2.13   US Forest Service - "Leave No Trace... or you will do Trail Maintenance with a Trowel!"
    October 13, 2007
2.14   Act Locally, Destroy Globally:Cultivate Disease Resistance
    March 04, 2007
2.15   Joisting with Self-Glorifying Windmills
    March 03, 2007
3   Analysis
  January 01, 1997
3.1   Analysis of Medical Insurance Discussion
    April 06, 2013
3.2    Degrees of Risk
    April 24, 2013
3.3   Qualifying Experts
    January 25, 2014
4   Finches:Urban Ones Smart??
  March 23, 2016
5   BBC - Propaganda
  June 10, 2016
6   BBC Propaganda, again
  June 15, 2016
7    Why did Agriculture Start 13,000 years ago
  June 23, 2016
8   Ice Core TimeLine Munge
  September 22, 2016
9   Ice Age Survival
  December 29, 2016
Carpe Diem: What you can envision, you can achieve!sm
If you like this or found something useful/educational, be sure to pay the piper.
home        contact
copyright 1998-2017