In his spare time, Tony is an organiser of a railway enthusiasts society. One of the members ‘phoned him with a suggestion to introduce a disputes committee. “After all”, he said, “I’ve belonged to societies like this before and you need such a procedure in place in order to make sure any disputes can be settled appropriately”.

Tony thought for a moment. He then asked his member: “How long have we been operating?” Answer “Four years”. “Have you had any disputes in that time?” “No”. “If we announced the formation of a disputes committee, what might be the consequence?” “OK, take your point, it wasn’t such a good idea”.

Tony had learnt in his own organisation that if you pay attention to the ‘downside’, you get more of it.

You see the same with absence management programmes, they generate more absence.