Yes. Discipline Without Punishment solves performance problems promptly and permanently by placing the responsibility for change exactly where it belongs—with the individual. The core concept of giving an individual whose performance is not acceptable a day at the company’s expense to make a final decision about whether he can meet the organization’s expectations and is willing to make an affirmative commitment to excellence in every area of the job is appropriate at any level in the organization.
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The Discipline Without Punishment approach significantly reduces exposure to lawsuits and equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaints resulting from unfair or inconsistent disciplinary action. Once employees set their own standards and agree to them, it’s a lot harder for them to say they didn’t understand the rules. If a termination is ever challenged, the decision-making leave will demonstrate that your organization took every action possible to rehabilitate the individual.
Service and professional organizations frequently reject traditional progressive-discipline approaches as too ‘‘blue collar’’ for their sophisticated, better-educated workforce. As a result, they often end up with no system at all and handle everything on an inconsistent, ad hoc basis. Discipline Without Punishment is particularly appropriate for today’s knowledge workers.
Traditional discipline approaches may indeed convince some problem employees to shape up, others to ship out. But punitive tactics will not produce employees who are genuinely committed to the goals of the enterprise and the policies and rules by which it operates. We can punish people into compliance. We cannot punish people into commitment. The greatest flaw with the conventional progressive-discipline approach is simply that it asks too little.
The traditional system takes a problem employee, punishes him, and leaves the organization with nothing more than a punished problem employee. The Discipline Without Punishment system requires the problem employee to become one of two things: either a good employee or an ex-employee.