Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The System Works for You

The system rewards strange behavior.  And I don't think this particular system was built well.

The Cadet Observation Report (COR) at our fine institution is an electronic method to inform the offending party's supervisor that they have screwed up one way or another.  However, this digital COR also goes to the 'head honcho' of our company and it's not a very "office-friendly" policy to report a lowly peon for small stuff.  It also sounds 1984-esque where neighbor turns neighbor in.

Now the argument placed before me by this system's proponents is that the purpose is to alert the offender's supervisor and chain of command so that they can take appropriate action, and that to avoid using the system is to invalidate it.

Granted offenses shouldn't be hidden by supervisors to avoid trouble from higher echelons, but giving proper ownership of subordinates to their supervisors instead of writing a COR that goes into the system and is permanently attached to a cadet's record without at least going through a polite process of informing that cadet's chain of command and giving them first rights to deal with the situation.  If these people who write CORs at least informed leadership of their intention, they would do wonders for their appearance. 

Additionally, the COR only reinforces to the bitter cadet that the system is working against them because these things are often written one-sidedly and - as we learned yesterday - writing a retaliatory COR is a terrible idea.  But since this cadet wrote that emotional "counter" COR the original writer of the electronic disciplinary method ended up being slightly criticized.  Now the original writer is defending their actions, and acting as though many of us in this company don't want justice or support the system.  Au contraire... it's only a more effective system when we work together to develop a trouble-making cadet as opposed to shooting what is essentially an electronic slap on the wrist at least without confronting the cadet in a more calm setting, because now this offending cadet will probably be even less inclined to comply with future orders as opposed to if he had been approached in the evening by his supervisor or with his chain of command.

We can only move forward from this event, but maybe the electronic Cadet Observation Report should be gotten rid of altogether, or the actions that can be recorded in a COR - since it stays on your record all four years here - should be limited in nature.  Or the COR record should be wiped clean every year at the discretion of the leadership.  I will never like this method of leadership at any rate.  It seems indirect and less effective in many ways.

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