I would like to first thank my CREATOR for the gifts of life, wisdom, patience, persistence, curiosity, drive, and vision.
This paper was created using ONLY Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Specifically:
- LibreOffice Writer word processing program from the LibreOffice Suite: https://www.libreoffice.org/
- LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet program was used to create Levels Chart A.
- This paper was written on a computer running the GNU/Linux computer operating system, specifically Pop!_OS 20.10: https://pop.system76.com/
- You can learn more about FOSS here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_open-source_software
I acknowledge that this paper greatly oversimplifies how most organizations are structured. What I propose here is just a starting point for a new way of thinking about the promotions process. I fully understand that the system that I present here could probably not be implemented exactly as I’ve written it. As you read this paper, please be flexible in your thinking. Instead of focusing on the EXACT solutions that I have presented, think more about the general concepts that I propose for making the promotions process more fair.
Lack of diversity at the top of organizations is a global problem. For example, in corrupt nations, leaders often stack the top leadership positions in governments with unqualified relatives and/or friends. Another example: in the United States, minorities and women often disappear from corporate hierarchies after you go above a certain level. In this paper, I propose a solution: random lotteries to pick prospects for promotion from Level X to Level X+1. For example, if Company A has 8 levels (Level 0 at the bottom, Level 7 at the top), a Level 0 prospect for a position in Level 1 would be randomly selected as a promotion prospect by a lottery.
The requirements for a Level 1 member of the organization would be well-documented, and widely available to everyone in the organization, so EVERYONE in Level 0 could constantly study and prepare for promotion to Level 1. The randomly chosen Level 1 prospect would have to pass a battery of objective examinations AND pass a peer review process to be promoted to Level 1. If he or she failed the examinations, then the random lottery selection process would be repeated until a suitable candidate was found. To ensure that the lottery process was TRULY random, a decentralized blockchain that the company or organization does not control could be used as a source of entropy. This system would remove most of the human biases from the promotion process. Morale would be improved throughout organizations due to a more fair, transparent and objective promotion process.
Step 1: Developing the Objective Standards For a Position Within a Level of An Organization
Throughout this paper, I will refer to a hypothetical company: XYZ Motors. XYZ Motors has 8 levels in its hierarchy: Level 0 at the bottom, with 2,097,152 employees and Level 7 with one employee, the Chief Executive Officer. Levels Chart A below demonstrates the company’s hierarchy graphically.
Levels Chart A for XYZ Motors
Each Level of XYZ Motors would have an Objective Standards Document that would CLEARLY state what is required for an employee to function at that Level. Each Level’s Standard would aim to prepare EVERY employee of the company for eventually becoming the Chief Executive Officer of the company (we can’t count anyone out: ANYONE could have the potential to make it to the top one day). As such, Each Level’s Standard would work on building characteristics that a Chief Executive Officer would be expected to have. Ethics would be at the forefront. In fact, the ethical guidelines of each Level’s Standard would be quite painful, and quite probing.
Let’s look at an example question from XYZ Motors Level 0 Standard:
You log into your bank account on payday, and you find that double you’re expected pay has been deposited into your account. Which of the following actions would you take?
A. Buy the new monitor that you’ve been looking at for the last 6 months.
B. Buy stock in your favorite company.
C. Contact the Human Resources Department, and inform them of the error.
D. Start a college fund for your child.
Quite obviously, the correct answer is C., but the point of the Standard is not just to reinforce the right answer; the MORE IMPORTANT function of these questions is to get employees thinking about ethics VERY EARLY in their careers within the company or organization. Human beings learn best through repetition, so getting bombarded over and over again with probing ethical questions helps to ingrain in their minds the proper ethical thinking from the very beginning of their careers, to the very end. So the primary function of the Objective Standards Document for each Level would be to shape EVERY person in the organization into the kind of person that you would ideally want at the TOP of the organization; and this starts on day one of them joining the organization.
Step 2: Building Trust that the Objective Standards Documents are Fair
The Objective Standards Documents for each Level would be generated openly and transparently, with ample time for feedback from EVERYONE within the organization. Perhaps the final version of each Objective Standards Document would have to be approved by 85% of the people within the organization. This kind of “buy-in” would be good for the morale of the people within the organization because they would feel that they had a meaningful part to play in the approval process.
Step 3: Randomly Selecting Promotion Candidates
Let us assume that XYZ Motors has 1,100 vacancies in Level 1 of the company due to retirements and promotions. Level 0 of XYZ Motors has 2,097,152 employees. A computer program randomly selects 1,100 Level 1 candidates from the 2,097,152 Level 0 employees. To ensure that the process was truly random (i.e. that no one could rig the computer to select in their favor), an external source of entropy could be introduced, such as data from a decentralized blockchain. Those 1,100 Level 1 candidates would have 24 hours to study before they have to report to the Level 1 Examinations. However, 24 hours would NOT be enough time to cram for the objective examinations. Each candidate would have to have been studying for several months, or years, to have any reasonable chance of passing the objective examinations. Hence, EVERY person in the organization would have the mindset “I had better be ready at ALL times”. The Level 1 Examinations are randomly and automatically created from an Exam Bank by a computer, and they have these 8 sections:
- Human Relations and Interactions
- General Mathematical Skills
- General Verbal and Writing Skills
- Technical Aspects of Automobiles
- General Mechanical Knowledge
- Financial Literacy
- Fairness, Objectivity, and Impartiality
All 8 sections would be THOROUGHLY covered in the Level 1 Objective Standards Document, so everyone in Level 0 would have had ample to study, including the prospective 1,100 Level 1 candidates. In fact, The Objective Standards Documents for all 8 levels of the organization would be available for ANYONE in the organization to study at any time.
How do we prevent the promotion of a good test taker who would be terrible in a position at the higher level? The Peer Review Factor. The organization would be in a PERPETUAL peer review process. Every person in the organization would have a badge with their picture, name, and Organization ID Number. Each person in the organization would have a personal computing device with a proximity sensor that could read data from the ID cards of everyone that a single person in the organization came into contact within a given day. At the end of the day, each person in the organization would go through their device, and rate (Peer Review) several of the people that they encountered throughout the day. Let me give you an example.
On Tuesday, Rhonda, an employee of XYZ Motors, encountered Rob, another employee of XYZ Motors. At the end of the day, she opens her personal computing device, and it shows the people that she encountered throughout the day. She sees the picture of Rob, with the following rating questions:
Did Rob treat you with dignity and respect? Rate how Rob treated you from 0 (worst) to 10 (best): Rhonda rates Rob 10 out of 10.
Is Rob an ethical person? 0 (worst) to 10 (best) or “Not Observed”: Rhonda rates Rob as “Not Observed”.
You get the idea. The peer review process would consider EVERYONE in the company to be peers. For example, if the Chief Executive Officer ran into the most junior person in the company in the lobby, the junior person could complete a Peer Review of the Chief Executive Officer. Human biases would be mitigated by the fact that any individual in the organization would be Peer Reviewed by dozens, if not hundreds, of people over the course of many daily interactions. The identity of who conducted the Peer Review on a particular person would remain anonymous to that person, AND to everyone else in the organization. This would give everyone in the organization incentive to be on their best behavior at ALL times.
Step 4: Determining Whether a Person Actually Gets Promoted
Robin is an employee of XYZ Motors. She was one of the 1,100 Level 0 employees randomly selected to take the promotion examinations to Level 1. She takes the examinations, and she scores as follows:
Ethics: 100 out of 100 (passing score: 98)
Human Relations and Interactions: 95 out of 100 (passing score: 93)
General Mathematical Skills: 89 out of 100 (passing score: 85)
General Verbal and Writing Skills: 91 out of 100 (passing score: 90)
Technical Aspects of Automobiles: 84 out of 100 (passing score: 80)
General Mechanical Knowledge: 89 out of 100 (passing score: 85)
Financial Literacy: 97 out of 100 (passing score: 90)
Fairness, Objectivity, and Impartiality: 100 out of 100 (passing score: 95)
So Robin has passed all sections of the Objective Examinations, but then she gets the bad news: her Peer Review Factors were as follows:
Human Relations and Interactions: 0.85
Fairness, Objectivity, and Impartiality: 0.81
So now, we take her Peer Review Factors, and we multiply them times the grades that he got on the Objective Examinations:
Ethics: 0.8 x 100 = 80 (passing score: 98: FAIL)
Human Relations and Interactions: 0.85 x 95 = 80.75 (passing score: 93: FAIL)
Fairness, Objectivity, and Impartiality: 0.81 x 100 = 81 (passing score: 95: FAIL)
So due to her poor ethics, and her inability to interact with other human beings well, Robin has failed to be promoted. However, she knows EXACTLY what areas she needs to work on to maximize her chances of being promoted during her next opportunity.
What I have presented in this paper is radically different than any promotions process that I have ever seen, or been a part of. I would actually love to see these concepts implemented in a real company or government. I suspect that it would take a lot of work to implement it, but I believe that a more fair promotions process would lead to higher morale, higher retention, and higher productivity. A very transparent promotions process, with very clear Objective Standards Documents for each level of the organization, would make every person in the organization feel that they actually have a fair shot of becoming the top person in the organization one day. Each person in the organization would feel that they were being trained to be that top person in the organization from DAY ONE. Thank you so much for reading this paper!!!
Revision Number (Date or Unix Timestamp)
Original: March 6, 2021
Created the original version of this document.
Added license section. Fixed typos. Made some minor changes to the text of the document. Added copyright information. Added revision information.
Initially, I was going to license this document under a Creative Commons license, but then I gave it some thought. Version 3 of GNU’s General Public License (GPL) is my favorite license in the world, and it is typically used as a license for distributing programming source code. But then I thought about it some more: programming source code is just text! So logically, there is no reason why I couldn’t license this document, which is text, under the GNU GPL version 3 or later. I own the copyright for this document, so I can license it under any license I want. I encourage you to improve the document, and of course, you must share your improved version under the GNU GPL version 3 or later. When I distribute this document, I will place ALL of the files that I used in creating this document into a zipped folder. You will always be able to find the last version by visiting here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/solving-lack-diversity-top-problem-via-random-lottery-rex-djere/
Here is the GNU GPL version 3 in its entirety: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.en.html
Latest Revision of this document (Unix Timestamp): 1615064439
Download the latest revision of this paper in .pdf form here (SHA256SUM = b0983ef4719270b54157ab4df2f9f9e320109a7458b79712252ebb558f3c262f): https://gateway.pinata.cloud/ipfs/QmUgjiZcgtWfWdipK3Re2qYzjfwwhQ3SmcuAynYc4iSJsQ/Solving_lack_of_diversity_at_the_top_rev_1615064439.pdf
IPFS is sometimes unavailable due to high demand. If you can't download the paper at the above link, here is an alternate download link: https://saxtalk.com/Solving_lack_of_diversity_at_the_top_rev_1615064439.pdf
Download all source files for the latest revision of this document here (SHA256SUM = 481389b61be8372d8df1dcd16909b82aafe249b7155822d596d92807d8c50de7): https://gateway.pinata.cloud/ipfs/QmY1VJm1ErXLmf2nX7JDCUdhGkJTrKN2rvVVDNmpR6pZRq