Revenue off target
THE SA REVENUE SERVICE suffers from the malady brought on by a culture of targets and incentives that will override any other values it claims to espouse. As the late Dr Deming said: “If you set people targets they will achieve them, even if it means the destruction of the organisation.” That happened in Britain in its National Health Service, in education and in local government and brought about by a witless government, which didn’t have a clue as to how organisations really work.
Revenue’s executive needs to appreciate that, with a natural statistical variation of between R10bn and R90bn/month there’s no incentive that will produce the results it needs. The best people can do is cheat the target system – the outcomes of which I believe Dave King is complaining.
All the symptoms are there of an anomic culture brought about by the stress of management targets, huge systemic variation and changing legislation – all of which disempower employees, leading to stress, high turnover and, worst of all, offensive customer behaviour. There’s an absolute parallel with the collapse of the financial sector in Britain.
It’s time, as you suggest (“Unhappy returns”, 6 November), for Revenue’s leadership to take stock. And it’s time for organisations everywhere to get rid of the idea that targets and bonuses work.