Adam Bryant, David Reimer

A company’s most powerful cultural signals aren’t communicated by talking points. They’re determined by who gets promoted and who receives outsized rewards. Yet compensation and bonus frameworks in most organizations are still based almost solely upon financial results. In an effort to rule out subjectivity, such plans emphasize — and often focus exclusively on — achieving numerical targets. This oversimplified focus on the what of results, without consideration of how the numbers were achieved, has triggered unintentionally lopsided cultures that promote short-term thinking and a tolerance for the proverbial high-performing jerks.

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