Monday, August 14, 2006

Money Isn't Everything & Other Revelations

I was checking out the most recent issue of BusinessWeek while basking in one of the most beautiful weekends of the year. Temp in the low 80's, no humidity to speak of, just enough breeze to keep you cool without having to worry about shade. It felt like the biggest decision for the day would be where to go for some outdoor dinning. The whole experience made me wonder if this is what living in San Diego must be like.

In any case, if you missed it, it was one of their "special issues" called The Competition Issue. Some pretty interesting stuff and among other things, they had some factoids from a survey they had run this past July in which they talked to just over 2500 Americans described as being in "middle management."

One of the questions asked was "Which work objective gets you out of bed in the morning?" Finishing ahead of "a high salary" which came in at 9% were "respect of your peers" (11%); "a good balance of work and home life" (30%) and "knowing you did your job well" (44%)

So there was money coming in as close to "an also ran" and somewhere in the deep furrows of my memory, I recalled not just the statement that money is a short term not a long term motivator, but that it had been empirically demonstrated.

Indeed, in our own annual survey (The Executive Job Market Intelligence Report) we asked the question a bit differently but got a similar answer. Our question was around the reasons that people choose to leave their jobs. 30% of our members said it revolved around personal issues such as limited advancement opportunities, lack of challenge and personal growth. Another 26% said external factors such as company or industry prospects were poor, and another 22% felt the culture match wasn't right for them. Compensation came in at 11%.

So if it isn't the money, what is it? In my head I knew, but as I read the rest of the issue, there was something that Joe Torre said in an essay that he had written for this issue, that w while I am not a Yankee fan, I am a Torre fan, and I thought the way he said it covered it very well. He said:

"...But in the end, it still comes down to people. You have to make people feel necessary. Even if their contributions are minor, it adds to everything else. That's what makes the machine work."
As I closed the magazine, I thought to myself, why does something that seems so self-evident come as a revelation to so many?

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