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The synergistic effect of people who are talent multipliers is not really ignored. It simply doesn't lend itself to the type of relatively easily measured conventional metrics of quantity, quality, time and costs in the business world. Those things are carefully tracked in sports, but the typically desired results in business aren't as clear as won-lost records.

The squeaky wheels may get the high-profile grease, but I've seen big increases go to fatheads ready to walk if not "properly recompensed" while a simple wink goes to the mentor or team-core who may not get the richest raise but will be safeguarded when the other is let go. One may be rewarded short-term but is dispensible while the other is treasured and retained long term.

I suspect it's just beyond the ability of the conventional reward program to classify such SuperKeepers. Jay and Pat probably have the answer, though.

Remember our context. We all are still struggling to master the art of positive reinforcement in an era when egocentric arrogance is the popular model of admirable behavior, and "team" is a dirty semi-paternalistic word.

We have a lot of rating errors that we discuss in HR (e.g., leniency, contrast, horn, etc) but we don't talk much about how ratings fail to capture the intuitive feelings of a manager. Objectivity is usually the goal. Maybe 360s help?

I think you are missing out on one big part of the Michael Lewis article though (which was also detailed in Moneyball): if you see value that doesn't fit into the archaic box score--change the way you measure.

Ann, another thoughtful post. I read Lewis' Moneyball a year or two ago and it had my head spinning about the HR implications (I think I too blogged about it at the time).

I like the comment that 'the guy who invented the box score should be shot'. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, who wrote the book Execution a few years ago, put something in the book that stayed with me. They thought about individual performance on x and y axis, with one axis being 'statistical performance' and the other being (paraphrasing) 'intangibles/demeanor/attitude'.

Although the second axis is certainly difficult to quantify, this rubric makes sense to me. It would likely put Battier in the upper right quadrant where he belongs, and people like Dennis Rodman where they belong, too.


I keep hoping that we have left (or are ready to leave) the era of egocentric arrogance behind. But even if we do, there is probably a lag period before our metric catch up.

I still like your terms "force multiplier" and "talent multiplier". Am going to borrow them at some point and give them their own post (with proper nod to you of course).


I think that is exactly my point (more in the previous post than this one) - that we do need to change the way we measure (or at least better understand and more openly acknowledge the limitations of the way we measure). But that's easy to say, much less easy to do, eh?


I liked that comment, too. And yet here are we in the corporate world, still very much fixated on the box score.

I like the Bossidy and Charan rubric (I remember that from my reading of Execution as well...). But it is my hope that we can find ways to bring a little rigor to measuring the intangibles.

Per our conversation, am looking forward to reading Moneyball. Way past time that I did.

Thanks - everybody - for weighing in here!

Ann, another spot-on post. I look forward to our webinar together soon.

On this topic of merit, taken from one of my own posts on this topic:

One thing that should be clarified (and resolves many of the problems of linking reward to performance) is the "currency" used for reward. By their very nature, cash recognition (or bonuses) are a problem as cash quickly becomes an entitlement and is easily confused with (or subsumed by) compensation. If the goal is to recognize above and beyond efforts of employees then recognition with a different “currency” than the cash used in compensation must be applied. That’s where strategic recognition comes in — giving a different currency for recognition with clearly defined and oft-repeated reasons deserving of recognition — to ensure employees know when they are being PAID vs. being REWARDED.

Strategic recognition accomplishes these additional critical goals not fully possible through compensation:
• Telling employees how their efforts matter – how they are not just working for the company, but with it.
• Encouraging cooperation and teamwork
• Encouraging people to notice and acknowledge stellar efforts of their peers
• Offering a “360° review” performance mechanism
• Offering a means for constant feedback throughout the year
• Making the rate of reward equivalent to rate of effort, employee by employee

The rest of the post is here: http://globoforce.blogspot.com/search?q=merit


Thanks - I look forward to the webinar as well. Appreciate your sharing your thoughts, and post link, on recognition!

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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