"But why should I help the Chiswick branch when I am rewarded for the results I achieve at the Hammersmith branch?"
It was a question that took me by surprise. We had been working together for a day and a half at a lovely training facility in the Kent countryside. The atmosphere at the team-building workshop had been cordial and we had all enjoyed good food and fine wine together the previous evening. All the delegates had thrown themselves into exercises with their colleagues, all of whom were branch managers for one of the major high-street banks.
Just before the surprising question, I had been suggesting that one of the many benefits of branch managers working as a team would be that the whole region would perform better. If more successful branches shared their expertise with less successful branches that would benefit the bank as a whole, and therefore those branch managers who helped poorer performing branches would stand out as high potential promotion prospects. Surely.
What I hadn't fully understood was that each branch's performance was measured against other branches of their own bank. If Chiswick started getting better results, Hammersmith's results would look poorer by comparison. Bonuses were based on where your branch stood in a league table of branches of your own bank, not how your branch was faring in comparison with competitor banks.
I quickly realized that branches were not rewarded for supporting one another. They were ...