Gaming the System


What readers are saying about Gaming the System

Gaming the System "should be required reading for every CEO...or newly minted MBA.  The mechanistic things discussed at most Board meetings and taught in the B-schools never get to the realities James B. Rieley describes." 

Michael Eisenbud, VP-HR at Alstom

"Rieley's examples are real, feel real, and, therefore, demonstrate how employees react and what senior executives need to do differently in specific problem situations.  We used these concepts very successfully in the transformation efforts at the Royal Dutch Shell Group of companies." 

Mac MacDonald, Director, Leadership and Performance Operations (LEAP) Shell


Gaming the System is available in English (FT/Prentice Hall), simplified Chinese (Pearson Education, Taiwan), and traditional Chinese (Portico, Peoples Republic of China)


Dr. Rieley has written extensively for The Daily Telegraph

Reading Between the Lines

The head of Citigroup has announced that he isn't happy with the way the world's largest financial services company is operating.

A series of regulatory and legal setbacks have tarnished the group's reputation and led to the forced closure of its Japanese private bank. A controversial bond trade has also angered European governments.

So, with a great flourish, Chuck Prince last week launched a new "ethics hotline" for whistleblowers and a new pay structure to align managers' rewards with the performance of the group. He also said he was going to hold a series of "town hall meetings with staff every year and have bi-monthly meetings with senior managers to reinforce the importance of new initiatives".

On the surface, this last idea sounds like good management, but the reality is that this rarely achieves what it sets out to do.


(click here to go directly to the Daily Telegraph)



The Rucksack Problem

Issue 2009.02

According to Wikipedia, "The rucksack problem is one in combinational optimisation.  It derives its name from the following maximisation problem of the best choice of essentials that can fit into one bag to be carried on a trip.  Given a set of items, each with a weight and a value, determine the number of each item to include in a collection so that the total weight is less than a given limit and the total value is as large as possible."  This is a problem that all decision-makers in organisations face today.

(the full text of this newsletter issue is available through subscription)

Shifting Organisational Behaviours
Often, the decision-making process fails to take into consideration the dynamics at play in an organisation.  It is the dynamics at play that can help decision-makers understand their relative ability to drive initiatives.

The dynamics show that the key drivers of sustainable organisational success is 'the belief that positive change can occur,' and 'leadership actions.'  These two drivers have an immense ability to improve the chances for success, whether for an organisational change programme, a merger or acquisition environment, or for the implementation of an initiative. 

If managers and employees do not see demonstrated actions that are congruent with what senior management says, they may be compliant, but will not become committed to what needs to be done.  Likewise, if managers and employees do not believe that the organisational environment will change due to the direction set by senior management, the level of commitment will not reach the levels that will be needed to ensure a shift in direction.





Copyright James B. Rieley, 2004 - 2008

Plain Talk©, James B. Rieley