Monday, 18 April 2005

Time The Fourth Dimension

The science of Time! Long before H.G. Wells penned "The Time Machine" man has always been intrigued by it's concept. From DiVinci, Nostradamus, to Newton, to Einstein all have implied that the existence of a fourth dimension does exist. In many ways Wells in much of his narratives of his novels actually have come into existence. Like Jules Verne, science fiction of the 1800's has become today's reality.

It wasn't until Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity that mankind really put into motion how time equates to a fourth dimension. Mankind has always been aware of 3 dimensions. When we move forward or backward; that is one dimension. When we move side to side; that is another dimension. When we move up or down; that is the third dimension. The fourth dimension of time indicates all are moving forward at a constant rate. Even though man has not been able to successfully move in a reversal or at an accelerated rate of forward momentum of time, at least not yet, none the less we are moving in time as a fourth dimension. We all age.That is forward traveling in time.

To fully understand how time equates to the fourth dimension, we have to grasp the concept of Relativity in it's relationship to time. Einstein observed that the passage of time (which we all presume to be at a constant rate) is actually the speed of light. This theory shows that the speed at which time happens is mutable. Time, space and motion all fall into the fourth dimension in which they all act on each other. In other words, if we were to circle the earth and return to our original starting point our watch would be slightly behind. If we traveled into space at the a very high acceleration we would age more slowly than people on earth. This means that traveling at the speed of light through space we would actually travel thousands of years into earths future.

Man has always lived in a three dimensional world. Still there are many obstacles that hinder our movement. One of the most direct result of constraint in moving about three dimensions is that man cannot move through solid objects or perform major operations without some sort of incision. In Einstein's theory space and time are really aspects of the same. At 186,000 miles per second time travels. A good analogy is: Someone that is age 20 were to board a space ship, leave earth traveling at 99.5% of the speed of light. After spending 5 birthdays in space return to earth at age 25 the people you knew when you left would have aged 50 years compare to your 5 years. This is because time passed more slowly for you. The greater the speed, time passes more slowly. At the speed of light, time stops. To exceed the speed of light, time goes backward.

From the novels of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne yesterdays science fiction will be tomorrows reality. Scientists are already probing the mysteries and possible feasibility of movement in the 4th dimension. From NASA to the scientists working at the super collider project in France mankind is on the way to solving the most elusive scientific concept of all. E=MC 2 the most famous equation in history. Understanding it is vital in the evolution of movement in time, the 4th dimension.

Friday, 1 April 2005

Are Managers Using the Wrong Incentives With Their Salespeople?

The way to improve performance, increase productivity and encourage excellence is to reward the good and punish the bad. This is the assumption that too many organisations have based their decisions on throughout the last century and in the first decade and a half of this century.

Sometimes this carrot and stick approach works but many times it doesn't. So what do you need to do, raise the rewards and get tougher on the punishments?

As I write this, I have in mind two sections of industry that use this almost to an extreme. One is the new homes market, the other is the motor vehicle trade. A lot gets written about the motor vehicle trade and the pressure put on salespeople to meet their quotas but far less is said about people management in the new homes sector so I'll use them as my example.

It amazes me that people with the skills and knowledge to build beautiful new homes are such pathetically poor managers of people who have clearly never heard of the '3 Dimensions of Job Satisfaction'. I'm sure there are exceptions, but they are definitely in the minority and the industry has a culture that breeds fear of failure and survival of the fittest amongst its salesforce. This leaves little room for a customer focussed approach where the joy of helping the customer select the right house for them that is in the right location at the right price is in itself fulfilment.

They reward the high performers with excellent commissions, huge bonuses, overseas trips and sales awards. For those who fail to meet their targets, who are viewed as 'burning leads', as being 'poor closers' there is the threat of dismissal. So, what happens? Fear sets in. It affects their confidence, clouds their thinking, tempts them to take shortcuts and they end up being fired... even though they may have been the ones picking up the awards and bonuses six months before.

The strange thing is that these companies design and construct great houses, using excellent systems and wouldn't dream of taking shortcuts in the building process. Yet their assumptions about how to motivate and incentivise people make life difficult for them as managers, create a fearful work culture and cause ongoing problems.

It's time that managers questioned their assumptions about how to motivate people and looked at alternative approaches. Until managers learn to be a coach reinforcing the positive behaviours with praise and helping their team to work through problems, they will constantly be under pressure and will infect their sales team with a fear of failure.