2012 Series 002 – Meritocracy & Objectivity

In my last post, I state that Meritocracy is very important and yet, although the definition of meritocracy is well documented, the nature or criteria for meritocracy is open to each organization.

I also state that thus, the nature or criteria of meritocracy selected by an Organization is critical, have the right components of meritocracy and your organization can be sustainable, have the wrong one, and you have apathy and the poisons that comes with it.

So, now we face a question. How do you determine that a criteria for meritocracy is good? A sort of meta criteria.

In this post, I like to argue that the most important criteria in defining the components of meritocracy is Objectivity.

We know that the human mind and heart has a penchant for biases.

Biases to prefer information that support our believes instead of those that challenges them.

Biases to give more weight to information coming from sources that look more attractive or affable or have authority.

All kinds of Cognitive biases interfering with how we view the world, perceive other’s actions, develop response, and execute our response.

But wait, isn’t the criteria of meritocracy can be deduce by common sense? Wouldn’t logic prevail when we set our criteria for meritocracy?

Unfortunately no.

We define our world base on what we believe. And due to our biases, our believes can be completely farce and yet still seem entirely logical for us.

Example, both Atheist and religious people can point the universe as proof of their believe, each thinking that their believe is entirely logical based on the facts they see. Yet if the facts are truly the same, and people arrive at different conclusion, then there’s must be a believe system that “guide” people towards a conclusion.

I have witnessed a company leader thinking she had adhered at principles of meritocracy, while all she was doing was surrounding her self with people she feel comfortable.

For her, these people had shown meritocracy, they had deliver the business volume she requested, they had shown loyalty to her, they support her ideas, they do her tidings eagerly, they even seem to be in the same wavelength with her, some are indeed very clever people. In her mind, the concept that she is doing meritocracy is completely wholesome.

But outsiders, who doesn’t share her worldview, be it consultants or N2 or N3 management layers, see people who delivers volume at the expense of value, people who are not willing to tell the truth, people who are unimaginative, people who would let the company sink to get ahead, are those that get promoted.

Can one imagine, what the company culture is like?

But she totally, totally, believe that she applied meritocracy in a logical manner. Aren’t the criteria she choose for meritocracy good criteria? Deliver results, Loyalty, Harmony.

Without Objectivity, these words can be so wrong.

He who knows others, are wise

He who knows himself, has insight


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