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Not only do we need to really differentiate pay treatment for top performers --- we need to give extra rewards (cash or non-cash) to those in critical jobs. That's a point that I think can't be made enough.

Something becomes a reward only if it is desired, appreciated and valued by the performer. What THEY want as the prize is key for effective reinforcement. That requires rejecting the conventional preference for uniformity and consistency, because top output producers tend to be unique and inconsistent both in what they do and what they desire.

Differentiation should be the norm in reward mechanisms applied as well as in the employee population affected. The few vital superstars rarely all want exactly the same thing.

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