Editor's Note: While we strive for brilliance with attitude in all Cafe postings (try hitting that mark several times a month to appreciate what our regular contributors do with such tireless consistency and panache), sometimes brilliance breaks out and displays a life of its own in the comment stream. This is what happens with a readership as smart as ours.
And often the observations shared in our comments are worthy of their own post-level attention. Today we act on that idea. See below where (with the permission of esteemed reader Jay Schuster and a little help from a favorite movie quote) we mine one of the insights from the comment stream of Jim Brennan's recent post on rewarding merit.
In discussing the challenge of looking more broadly at how we reward "merit" and thinking more strategically about how/where we use promotions and variable pay for this purpose, Jay and Jim had this great exchange:
Jay - The most successful organizations do not merely look around for a business, product, or service strategy to copy from others. They invent one that makes sense. Yet in human resources we continue to define 'competitive' improperly. It should mean evaluating where your organization and people need to be to 'win the business battle' and create a solution that gets them there.
When the folks sailed for the 'new world' they did not aim for Italy . . .they did something others did not do . . . headed for America.
Jim - Good points, Jay. If Christopher C. had heeded surveys, he would have remained in the middle of a convoy from Genoa to Rome. No one remembers those hesitant followers who thought competition meant lining up behind the leader.
Yes and yes. There is an important nugget of truth here. We in Human Resources - and particularly we in the Compensation profession - use the word competitive all the time. But we often fail to understand and pursue it in the context of larger, more important organizational goals and priorities.
Which, of course, brought to mind that great line from The Princess Bride (see video clip below).
Makes me wonder if this is what goes through the minds of some of the business leaders we purport to serve. Competitive? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means....
Ann Bares is the Editor of Compensation Café, Author of Compensation Force and Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group LLC, where she provides compensation consulting services to a wide range of client organizations. She earned her M.B.A. at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School and enjoys reading in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter at @annbares.
Creative Commons image courtesy of Nacho Proy