Reward systems

We, ourselves, live under what can be called “reward systems,” and all day every day, we deal with people and organisations that operate under them – some things that we and they do and say are rewarded more than others, making it more likely that we and they will do and say the things that get rewarded the most.

They are related to what one famous management writer describes as “The Greatest Management Principle in the World” – “THE THINGS THAT GET REWARDED GET DONE.”

An illustration of what we’re talking about is provided by the Andrew Brooks, Sydney Urologist, story.

As we’ve reported before, one of our readers reports that he was referred to Dr Brooks for help with what is called the “frequency problem” – he was having to get up 2 or 3 times a night to go to the toilet, which made it harder for him to get a good night’s sleep.

Dr Brooks’ diagnosis was that it was because his bladder, as he’d become older, had, for various reasons, become reduced in size so that it’s capacity was less than 200 mls, so that every time his bladder had 200 mls of urine in it it was full, and he had to get up and go to the toilet.

As our reader was to find out afterwards, the diagnoses provided by other Urologists, (which subsequently proved to be the right ones,) were completely different – that, as our reader had grown older, his bladder had become too weak to empty itself properly, so that after he’d been to the toilet it was still partly full, and so it was full sooner than it had been in the past.

Dr Brooks’ advice was that, if he carried out a TURP operation on him, his bladder would return to a more normal size comparatively quickly, and when our reader underwent the TURP it didn’t fix the frequency problem in any way!!!¬†as Dr Brooks subsequently admitted in writing. And the advice of other Urologists would have been that very little could be done about a weak bladder at his age – something that is still so.

BUT! and this is the point – Dr Brooks got a fee of $3,200 for carrying out the TURP operation, whereas, if our reader had seen the other Urologists, the fees they would have got from him wouldn’t have been much, for providing the advice that nothing could be done. In other words, Dr Brooks got rewarded more for doing the wrong thing, than the two other Urologists did for doing the right thing!!!

(We could give many other examples of this sort of thing, and will try to do so in due course.)

Our reader reports that subsequently, when he made the comment to the GP that had referred him to Dr Brooks that, “I think he’s just wanting to build up a nest egg for his retirement,” the GP just laughed, saying, “I think Dr Brooks would have lots of nest eggs already!”

If, as we suspect, if Dr Brooks was/is filthy rich, and the other Urologists to whom we have referred were/are not nearly as well off, we’re sure it wouldn’t surprise anyone – and if this is how it is, it would be because of of the reward systems under which Sydney Urologists work.

More later.

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