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11/01/2013

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I have pondered this topic several times over the last year as this blog has touched on it. Not sure exactely where I stand but I think I generally agree with:

" money is great to a point --- meaning it's a motivator until basic needs are met --- and that varies by person."

But I also think that "basic needs" are really defined by each individual, and that many of us here (especially in the US), have very inflated views of what our "basic needs" are. I think it is often a moving goal, so that our "basic needs" become just a bit more than we currently have. In that way, for a lot of people, money remains a very key motivator, even when they are making what someone else might think is plenty of money.

I do sort of seperate out really well paid people from that mix though, as I think you get into a whole new dynamic with executives. But for professionals , say 50K-200K I think this often applies (with a good number of exceptions of course).

But maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm just projecting my own views onto everyone else, and I'm really in the minority. I'm also in the earlier stages of my career, where money is probably more of a motivator than compared to later stages...

Drew --- I agree with you. Basic needs are relative and vary depending upon the person. It may be $200,000 to one and $50,000 to another. That's why I focus on founders/CEOs here --- not to say it can't include "regular" employees as well. (Consider volunteers in Peace Corps, Teach for America, etc. They hardly make $20,000.)

The basic needs test becomes more obvious when you look at Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates. I picked Zuckerberg to make a point. At $2B it is difficult to say that he still doesn't have his basic needs met.

All I know is that I can't argue with what I've heard CEOs and other employees tell me. And maybe it's just the high tech industry. But I cannot shake the belief that "purpose" trumps "compensation" ---- at least for some people.

I'm glad to hear you are struggling with this. To me it shows you are thinking for yourself.

There used to be a joke about Marxist economists who would say of a deviation from pure Communist economics: "It might work in practice, comrade, but it doesn't work in theory."

Thanks for sharing.

Sorry to come late to the party.

People who work at the apex of F500 companies are demonstrably and objectively paid a competitive wage, with their referent others (Equity Theory)supplied to them by compensation committees.

I suspect that salient rewards at that level are the power and perks of office, and the opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of Bill Clinton and Bono at Davos.

Hi Tony ---- I am a little more skeptical than you when it comes to believing execs are paid competitively given the ratcheting effect that the surveys and transparency of comp to all execs at all companies via annual report, etc. "Why does __ make more than I do? Our stock price increased more than his company's?"

And the power and perks? The real motivator here is just that ---- the money is only the measurement for how you get there.

My 2 cents.

Jacque:

I should have said "paid at least competitively"...

But more to the point, I think we all agree that for the overwhelming majority of people, money ceases to be much of a motivator once you get into the mid six figures.

Thanks Tony. I agree. And when you witness employees motivated by purpose it's a glorious sight to see.

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