One of the least popular, most effective and most clearly behaviorist policies in this community has been re-instated: Linking making hammocks goals to quota. This is how it works. Every week the RPM (Ropes Product Management) decides what our weekly production goals are. If we make these goals all is wonderful. If we exceed them (as we did last week) we carry over the buffer into the next week to make it easier to make our subsequent goal. If we fail to make them our weekly labor quota increase 1.4 hours a week (or 0.2 hours per day). Our current quota is 42 hours a week. We have had quota linked to production goals for 4 weeks now and so far we have made it every week. And almost every week RPM is increasing the production goals, which have gone from 100/week to 130/week over the last month. We plan to level out production at 165 hammocks/week in early December.
Last year RPM was reluctant to re-establish this link between production goals and quota. We did not want to punish the community and we tried for some months to entice people to come into the hammock shop with treats and events and by setting up hammocks dates with people that they like. Unlike our tofu production which is on an assembly line, which pushes hard and runs long, hammocks making is relaxed work, which you can do when ever you like, for as long or as short as you like and no one is breathing down your neck to go faster. Incentives failed. After a couple of months of trying to give communards carrots to get them to work, we broke out the stick – linking goals to quota. We failed to make goals about 5 times last year. Quota went up, people came into the shop and made hammocks and got us back on track.
When we reviewed this process, through the O&I board and community meeting, RPM kept getting the same response from members of the community “Dont give us carrots, hit us with sticks, early and often” This was quite counter intuitive to me. Why would anyone choose punishment over reward? The answer is that we cant be bribed into making our production goals, but we can be beaten into submission.
So far it seems to be working. Cross your fingers it is a long winter ahead of us.