Amazon may be a terrible place to work but is it a good place to be a manager? Close supervision, performance improvement plans, long hours, ultra competitive culture and a killer mentality, the Amazon office is a jungle. But a jungle is not necessarily a bad place to be if you are top of the food chain. 

If you're a senior manager you have probably read the evidence that happy more cohesive teams get better results. But keeping morale high and getting people to be nice to each other is hard when you need to deliver budget cuts , make people work harder and longer and impose inferior terms and conditions of employment whilst holding the threat of redundancy over them. It's much easier to say,"this is the job if your not up to it you can leave"and justify the management style as necessary in such a competitive market. After all it works for Amazon.

The public sector is keen to take what works in the real business world and see if it to can be more efficient and competitive. The biggest expense in the NHS is staffing so if we could reduce costs by paying staff less, getting them to work harder for longer and having less time off sick we would have a more efficient and a more competitive NHS. Given the right tools and the total backing of the board any NHS Trust could be more business like. Amazon has some useful tools in close supervision, performance improvement plans and and the real killer an anonymous feedback system on colleagues performance. Let's face it who knows who is skiving, who is incompetent and who is swinging the led better other members of the team? It could also help identify those subversives who undermine change initiatives with their negativity and cynicism. Our modern HR computer systems could collate this information identify those who would benefit from tighter supervision and a detailed performance improvement plan. Obviously if there is a lack of improvement then any reasonable employer would be justified in dismissing the individual on the grounds of competence.

How easy would this make the job of management. As a senior manager you could have real confidence that if after due consideration you and your board made a decision it would be implemented. Policy would always be practise, there would be no gap between rhetoric and reality and what needed to be done would be done.

If it works at Amazon.

Blair McPherson former Director of Community services