Motivation: Employees vs. Sales people vs. Owners

Two Businessmen Having Discussion In WarehouseThere are three classes of workers.

  1. Employees
  2. Sales people
  3. Owners

I want to focus on the core differentiating factors that clearly affect people’s actions and shape the way they work. We are all motivated by growth.

Employees

An employee’s growth is linked generally to how people view them internally, i.e. a direct manager that has the power to promote, demote, or fire.   Subsequently, an employee will focus on growing in the eyes of management and not on the overall health of the company or even their own productivity.  The employee simply has to make his managers think he is productive because perception is reality.

Sales people

The sales person is a different animal because they are linked to more quantitative measures than employees.  They are rewarded for closed sales or productivity.  Thus, a sales person will be more focused on immediate rewards.  This can be a problem if there is a short-term focus on their incentive structure i.e. they get rewarded for a closed sale, but not for customer retention.

Further, sales people do not think about larger elements such as the overall health of the company.  A sales person may not consider things like the revenue of a particular client vs. costs to the company (which equal the actual profit) unless it is somehow built into the incentive structure, which can be tricky.

Owners

There are two main differentiators between a sales people, employees and owners.

  1. A vision of long-term sustainability for the company (good owners have this). Employees and sales people focus less on the sustainability and overall health of the company as they have less motivation to do so.
  2. Owners understand and take risks, employees and sales people do not (other than opportunity cost). This is a big factor; “Skin in the Game” is the saying.

When thinking on the dynamic of a company, these are important considerations.  Owners often get frustrated with employees and sales people because they “just don’t get it”.  The reality is they probably won’t…ever, unless they step into owner’s shoes later down the road.  The power of risk and “skin in the game” has a huge effect on our actions, regardless of who we are.

The point is to understand and accept this as the reality that we have to deal with particularly as owners.  If you are a sales person or an employee try and set yourself apart by empathizing with owners if you are able.

Motivation: Employees vs. Sales people vs. Owners

There are three classes of workers.

  1. Employees
  2. Sales people
  3. Owners

I want to focus on the core differentiating factors that clearly affect people’s actions and shape the way they work. We are all motivated by growth.

Employees

An employee’s growth is linked generally to how people view them internally, i.e. a direct manager that has the power to promote, demote, or fire.   Subsequently, an employee will focus on growing in the eyes of management and not on the overall health of the company or even their own productivity.  The employee simply has to make his managers think he is productive because perception is reality.

Sales people

The sales person is a different animal because they are linked to more quantitative measures than employees.  They are rewarded for closed sales or productivity.  Thus, a sales person will be more focused on immediate rewards.  This can be a problem if there is a short-term focus on their incentive structure i.e. they get rewarded for a closed sale, but not for customer retention.

Further, sales people do not think about larger elements such as the overall health of the company.  A sales person may not consider things like the revenue of a particular client vs. costs to the company (which equal the actual profit) unless it is somehow built into the incentive structure, which can be tricky.

Owners

There are two main differentiators between a sales people, employees and owners.

  1. A vision of long-term sustainability for the company (good owners have this). Employees and sales people focus less on the sustainability and overall health of the company as they have less motivation to do so.
  2. Owners understand and take risks, employees and sales people do not (other than opportunity cost). This is a big factor; “Skin in the Game” is the saying.

When thinking on the dynamic of a company, these are important considerations.  Owners often get frustrated with employees and sales people because they “just don’t get it”.  The reality is they probably won’t…ever, unless they step into owner’s shoes later down the road.  The power of risk and “skin in the game” has a huge effect on our actions, regardless of who we are.

The point is to understand and accept this as the reality that we have to deal with particularly as owners.  If you are a sales person or an employee try and set yourself apart by empathizing with owners if you are able.

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