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Where do the 'compensation cowards' come in, Jim? Those who say 'yes' to everything no matter how silly if it comes from the lips of someone in a senior management role? I am certain that nobody who views this blog fall in that category but perhaps we can 'turn over a rock or two'?????

Oh, they definitely fall within the realm of advocates, givers and enablers, Jay. On second thought, if they only defer to senior management, they don't meet some of my original "objective judge" criteria. Perhaps such obsequious suck-ups are rubber-stamping management enablers without an independent thought who masquerade as impartial judges? They certainly don't seem to consider much beyond personal self-interest and simple survival.

Good post, Jim.

I've been reading these posting/articles long enough now, that I can almost predict who the author is - long before I get to the bottom of the page. And whenever I see the word "parsimonious" used anywhere in an article, that's always a good "tell" for who the author is . . . (BTW, I guessed correctly on this one)

I'll concede that I've run into very few of the advocates in my career. Most professional contacts I've crossed paths with were more in the middle ground category - although it was always clear that if you gave them a slight nudge (and handed them a gavel and a black robe), they were judges at their core.

Guess I've never been confused about who I worked for in my career - and whose interests I was responsible for upholding - from a pay and compensation perspective.

It was the organization's.

On reflection, I'm not sure this split-camp phenomenon is the exclusive purview of just totals rewards or HR people - as I've seen plenty of managers with my current employer, who regularly seem confused about whose interests are paramount. But that's a different set of circumstances - and probably a fun, free-wheeling discussion for a different day.

Maybe a better question is the "why" of the existence of these two philosophically opposite extremes. While both are not without some basis, it strikes me that they're both trying to maximize the positive effects from an intervention - but minimize the negative outcomes. Sounds like we're seeking an empirically-balanced, behavioral solution . . . and a solution - that with time, I think is coming.

Well, Chris, after using up "miserly" and "penny-pinching", I decided to apply a fancier term than "cheap" or "tight-fisted" to describe management payroll conservators. What other word would you choose?

More important is your "why" question. Suspect that answer will also answer my final questions. Let's hear more thoughts ...

How about the mix of advocate and judges. I advocate when relevant but at the same time, I have seen environments in which performance driven plan can work. It has to have $$ to back it though. 2-3% is not going to drive performance far.

Agree that mixes are better, Jules. Cheerleaders should choose good sensible causes. Rational thinkers should promote ideas that enhance workers' lives. There is no actual barrier that prevents a judge from being an advocate or an advocate from being a judge. I like to think I am bi-polar (or ambivalent) that way, able to draw from each tendency.

While most HR/comp types combine a lot of both, most appear to have a dominant preference. Some seem stuck at one extreme only, and that can be scary. Generalizing terribly, of course...

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