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Thanks for tackling a delicate subject, Chuck. Recognizing the viewpoint of the decision makers is essential for effective presentations. Crafting your approach to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives they will perceive is vital if you really want to achieve something meaningful.

Productive advisers soon learn to read their audiences. Otherwise you are simply arrogantly talking to yourself, telling others what they should do rather than resolving their issues as you offer solutions they can accept. "Playing to self-interest" is simple wisdom, even though it can sound ugly and may be difficult to master.

Another good post from 'The Comp-Whisperer.'

And the theme is not limited to the leadership team level.

I was once part of a group evaluating proposed changes to compensation policies for a large enterprise comprised of multiple operating divisions. There was a proposal on the table to explore the idea of implementing a supervisory differential across the enterprise. One of the operating division’s representative at the meeting was very vocal in their opposition stating that their division would be steadfastly opposed to any such idea. The representative made such a fuss, that the issue was quickly shelved so we could move on to other matters.

After the meeting, I asked the dissenter why their operating division was so opposed to supervisory differentials. I had expected a thoughtful argument about costs or difficulty of messaging.

But the answer I received was less cerebral: “Because I am not a supervisor!”

The dissenter was judging by self-interest.

(It was also an example of what is sometimes called the 'crab mentality'!)

I do agree that knowing your audience is important to increasing your compensation in the industry. You should know what is important to them and their values.

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